CWG: Lance Corporal Harry Cheeseman

Lance Corporal Harry Cheeseman

Harry George Cheeseman was born in the summer of 1893, one of eleven children to Charles and Sarah Cheeseman. Charles was an innkeeper, and ran the now-closed Red Lion Inn in Angmering, West Sussex for more than twenty years.

Harry did not follow in his father’s footsteps when he left school. Instead, he moved in his his older sister and her family in Horsham, where he worked as a roundsman on his brother-in-law’s dairy farm.

When war broke out, Harry was eager to enlist. He joined the Royal Sussex Regiment on 16th September 1914, and was assigned as a Private to the 9th (Service) Battalion.

Initially formed in Chichester, Private Cheeseman found himself moved to Portslade, then Shoreham, then Woking in Surrey, before eventually being sent to France at the beginning of September 1915. By this point, he had proved his worth and had been promoted to Lance Corporal.

Harry’s bravery shone through; in November 1915, while battle was raging, he brought an injured colleague into a field hospital and was about to rescue another when he himself was injured. His wound – a gun shot wound to the spine – was initially treated on site, but he was soon evacuated back to England.

Lance Corporal Cheeseman’s injuries proved to be life-changing. A later newspaper report stated that he had been “physically helpless” [Worthing Gazette: Wednesday 5th March 1917], so paralysis seems likely. Awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1914 Star, he was medically discharged from the army in May 1916.

Harry returned home, but never really recovered from his injuries. He died on 26th February 1917, at the tender age of 23 years old. His funeral “which was of a most impressive character, was witnessed by five hundred people” [Worthing Gazette: Wednesday 5th March 1917], and he was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Margaret’s Church in his home town.

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