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Harry Bates

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1893-1916

Reference: G5193


Private Harry Bates

Private Harry Bates was born in Teddington on 8 July 1893 the son of John and Mary Amelia Bates. just days before his 23rd birthday, he was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916.

Information on Banstead War Memorial on-line
website tells us that Harry was baptised at St Peter & St Paul Church, Teddington on 13 August 1893. His father, John Bates, is described as a farrier/blacksmith. Harry had two older brothers, George and Albert, and one sister called Caroline (Kit). In 1901 the family lived at 6 Cranmer Rd, Teddington.His father had his own blacksmith business employing his eldest son George (19). Kit (16) was employed as a draper’s assistant. Albert (13) and Harry (7) were still at school.

According to family records contained on the Banstead War Memorial site (where Private Harry Bates is also commemorated), Kit remembered pushing Harry in his pram in 1894. Apparently his father bought a goat for five shillings and Harry’s brothers built a carriage for the goat to pull. Kit’s husband who was an illustrator for Fulham and Arsenal Football Clubs drew pictures of young Harry which appeared on programmes for the clubs and which can be viewed on the website for the Banstead War Memorial.

The family had moved to 100 Stanley Gardens Road, Teddington by 1911 when the next Census was completed. Harry’s older brother, Albert, was now working in the family business as a blacksmith. Harry was employed as a fishmonger’s assistant. George and Kit had left home.

Aged 21, on 22 March 1915, Harry enlisted at Kingston and joined the 2nd Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment (G5193). At the date of his enlistment he gave his address as 71 High Street Hampton Wick. We know from his enlistment records that he had a slight frame with a 34” chest weighing 111lbs and was only 5’ 1¾” tall! The Banstead War Memorial site has pictures of Harry supplied by members of the family who had moved to Banstead leaving Harry behind to serve an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner in Hampton Wick with an Alec Rogers.

Before his death on the Somme Private Bates set postcards, which are displayed on the Banstead War Memorial site, to his sister Kit and her family.

Private Harry Bates has no known grave, so his death is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. His niece, Violet, remembered “standing on my bed while Mum helped me to get dressed….saying, “Poor Uncle Harry is dead”, with tears pouring down her cheeks. He was so young.” He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal which are held by his family.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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