Henry James Maidment – known as Harry – was born in Penarth, South Wales, in the autumn of 1890. He was one of seven children to Somerset-born Henry and Minnie Maidment. Henry Sr was a general labourer, and, when he died in 1899, Minnie remained in Penarth, earning money to support the family as a hawker of fruit.
By the time of the 1911 census, most of Minnie’s children were still living at home, with all but one of them working. Harry was employed as a van driver for a laundry, while his siblings were working variously as labourers, sailors and a housekeeper.
In the autumn of 1911, Harry married Annie Hillier, a servant who had been born in Yeovil, but who had also moved to South Wales. The couple went on to have a son, Henry, in October 1912, but he tragically passed away when he was just a couple of months old. They were not to have any other children.
War was coming to Europe by this point, and Harry was keen to play his part. He enlisted towards the end of 1914, joining the 1st Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry as a Private. He arrived in France at the beginning of May 1915, and would have seen fighting at Ypres that spring.
It seems that Private Maidment was wounded at Ypres; he was medically evacuated home and was admitted to the Graylingwell Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex. Details of his injuries are not available, but they must have been severe; he passed away from them on 23rd July 1915, aged just 25 years old.
Harry James Maidment’s body was brought back to Somerset; he was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church, Frome, his parents’ home town, and where his widow, Annie was living.