Harry Bruce Paterson was born towards the end of 1893, one of two children to John and Jane Paterson. John worked at Chatham Dockyard fitting ships’ engines, and the family lived in a small terraced house close to the centre of Gillingham in Kent.
When Harry left school, he became a plumber’s apprentice, soon qualifying as a full plumber.
He married Ellen Keeler in 1906, and the couple lived a short walk away from his parents’. They went on to have four children, Lilly, Harry Jr, Mabel and Kathleen.
War was on the horizon, but Harry’s military service records are a bit sketchy.
He enlisted as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers on 14th July 1915, and served in France. He attained the Victory and British Medals as well as the 1915 Star.
Sadly, Sapper Paterson’s health seems to have been impacted by his service. In January 1918 he was invalided back to England and admitted to the military hospital at the army camp in Thetford, Norfolk. Diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, he quickly succumbed to the disease, and passed away on 4th February 1918. He was 34 years old.
Harry Bruce Paterson lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, just a few minutes’ walk from both his parents and his widow and children.