CWG: Lance Corporal Henry Greenfield

Lance Corporal Henry Greenfield

Henry James Greenfield was born in Brighton, Sussex, in July 1878, one of at least seven children to William and Anne Greenfield. Henry’s parents were from Worthing, who seem to have worked their way along the coast to Brighton by the mid-1870s, when his older brother George was born.

William was a bootmaker and, by the early 1880s, had brought his family back to Worthing, where they remained settled.

At this point, it is harder to pinpoint Henry’s life, as documentation becomes scarce and, with Greenfield being a common name in Sussex at the time, it is challenging to confirm that anything written relates to this specific Henry James Greenfield.

There is a 1901 census with a Henry James Greenfield from Brighton on it: this lists him as an Able Seaman aboard HMS Ramillies moored in Valetta, Malta. However, given that the Henry buried in Worthing served with the army, rather than the navy, it seems unlikely to be the same person (although not impossible).

The next document that can by specifically linked to the grave is Lance Corporal Greenfield’s entry on the Army Register of Soldier’s Effects. In addition to giving his rank, this expands on his service during the Great War.

He joined the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) at some point before July 1918, and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion. While there is no confirmation of where he fought, his battalion served on the Western Front for the duration of the conflict.

Henry survived the war, but was admitted to a hospital in Leith, near Edinburgh, where he passed away from ‘sickness’ on 31st December 1918. He was 36 years old.

The document stated that his effects were distributed to his six siblings; this suggests that William and Anne had both passed away by this point, and also indicates that Henry himself had not married.

Henry James Greenfield’s body was brought back to Worthing; he is buried at the Broadwater Cemetery to the north of the town.

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