CWG: Private Frederick Harris

Private Frederick Harris

Frederick Jacob Harris was born in Wadeford, near Chard in Somerset, on 28th August 1887. The fourth of eleven children, his parents were William and Grace Harris. William was an agricultural labourer and carter, but the busy lace and weaving industry in the area is what provided Frederick and his siblings with work when they finished school.

It may have been through his work in the factory that Frederick met Alice Dowell: she was the daughter of a lace hand from Chard. The couple married on 20th October 1906, and settled in a house near the centre of the town. They went on to have four children, two boys and two girls.

War was closing in on Europe by this point, although there is little specific information about Frederick’s service. He initially joined the Somerset Light Infantry, although he soon made the move to the Royal Fusiliers. He received the Victory and British Medals, as did everyone else who served in the Great War, but there is no confirmation of whether he saw action overseas or not.

However and wherever Private Harris served, he survived the conflict, and was demobbed on 25th May 1919. His discharge record suggests that, at the point of being released form duty, he had no injuries or disabilities, and nothing that could be attributed to his time in the army.

Frederick appears to have returned to Chard, and spend the next six months adjusting to civilian life. However, something changed, as, on 10th December 1919, he passed away at home. No cause of death is evident, and nothing in the contemporary local media suggests that his died of anything other than natural causes. Whatever led to his passing, he was taken early, as he was only 32 years of age.

Frederick Jacob Harris was laid to rest in Chard Cemetery.


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