Dawn attack, Sunday morning

Harry's company was in the front line trench. The Battalion War Diary records with chilling formality a dawn attack by the enemy.

Harry was a member of the Lewis Gun section, which gets a mention in the diary.

I'm sure that the account is exciting but I can feel nothing but fear in my stomach as I think of Harry facing the assault.

If you're following the blog, it's well worth taking the link to the Battalion's War Diary to read the official account of today's events.

We now just need to wait to see if Harry survives to give his account.

The Front Line

It can be seen from the Battalion's War Diary that today, 29th September 1917, Harry's platoon moves to the front line, relieving the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, completing the move at about 10 P.M.

Even after reading the letters many times and working on this material for months, I get an involuntary shiver when I think of Harry in these situations. I hope that the reader can share a little of this.

Letters resume - Harry wounded.

To get an idea of Harry's situation in the grand scheme of things, it is worth following the link to the Battalion's War Diary.

As you can read in today's letter, Harry is in C Company. Their movements are mentioned from time to time in the Diary. It may help to put Harry's letters into context if the dates are considered.

September 23rd 1917.

Dear Jack

I have received your letter and I got the cigs alright. You did not mention about the mug you had got for Willie it will be very nice. I will tell Ethel he has to use it. The raid you read about in the papers was made by our Battalion. B Coy went over and we, no 12 platoon C. Coy stood to. It was made to get a prisoner or two, to get information which they did, they lost one man and two wounded, it happened about five one morning. I got a slight wound in the face with shrapnel but not much it is alright now, I did not go to the doctor. There as been a big advance this last day or two but I have been left out. We get left out in turns.we are expecting our Coy out tonight. We have some rough times out here but I think the Germans have it rougher. We have to make the best of it. I should be glad when it is all over. John Bull watched us march past just over a week ago on our way to the trenches. I think we were the best batt in the Brigade, well in the division. I am pleased you’re keeping well and that they are keeping well at home. The rations have been very low lately, four and five to a loaf and small loaves too, that is the days bread. Write back as soon as possible, I’m always pleased to get a letter from you. Kate keeps sending me a small parcels which come in very nice, I hope she gets on alright at her fresh situation. I’m just going to write to Ethel.

With best love

from Harry.

Battle Of Menin Road, 20th September 1917

This was a major offensive in the 3rd battle of Ypres. The attack started at 5.40 A.M. Harry's battalion was in the second wave of troops supporting the attack. The careful planning of General Plumer, that had ensured success at Messines Ridge two months earlier, delivered some initial success this time.

This is now part of the dreadful Passchendaele experience - stalemate in the Flanders mud costing many, many thousands of lives.

The card was included in the letters. I don't know who Harry sent it to. It commemorates Harry's Division's action last Thursday. I can find a record of the artist, J.V. Breffit, not as an artist, but as an army officer. If any one knows any more, please add a comment.

Harry's letters follow very shortly.


More information has been found on little Connie, Kate's daughter.

Connie was afflicted with "Spastic Diplegia". I understand that this is now known as cerebral palsy affecting limbs on both sides. This explains the comments about Connie walking and her starting school being noteworthy.

Two years before the Harry went away to war, they lost their first child, Arthur in infancy. A year after that, Willie was born. All this time Harry and Ethel were looking after this disabled little girl.

Advance notice; Harry's letters resume next week.

Harry's 30th Birthday

Harry's birthday has shifted a little. I was always told that he was born in 1888. However, anyone carefully following the Blog, will have noticed that the year of his birth changed to 1887.

I recently discovered the record of his birth registration indicated as September 1887 and have just received a copy of Harry's birth certificate with date of birth recorded as 28th August 1887, registered, of course in September.

In the same package I received the birth certificate of Willie's older brother Arthur, Harry's other son, born 1914, died in infancy.

This means that this card would have been sent to Harry a couple of weeks ago (Blog calender).

One can only imagine how Harry would have treasured this.

I have no further information about it.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Letter from Jack to Kate June 1917 - with scan

I have found another letter that is, I am afraid out of time order. It was filed with other material and I didn’t recognise its significance. This letter is from Harry’s brother, Jack to sister Kate. Jack was, at the time, an Anglican Clergyman in Hull in the North of England. Kate was a nurse in London. I have certificates in midwifery and “hygiene” that could well have been a result of the exams mentioned.

It was actually written on the 7th June 1917, the day of the battle of Messines Ridge. I can't help making a link from this peaceful clergyman writing a letter in Hull about his brother, this soldier enduring terrific horrors as that day progesses.

The letter from Harry that Jack refers to is probably the letter of 2nd June.

20 Ryde St
7th June 1917
Dear Kate

Just a line to let you know that I’ve heard from Harry this morning. He would very much like to hear from you. His address is
Pte H. Lamin
9th Batt
York & Lancashire Regiment
C Company
12th Platoon
B.E.F. France

He is in very good health I am thankful to say.

I hope you will get on all right with your exam. Have you seen the question papers of former years and do you know off by heart the act of parliament you ought to. I see you had another air raid not very far from London. Did you hear anything of it? I am in the best of health although very hard worked. Mr Thomas is very interested in his work in France.
With lots of love
J.E. Lamin

Click on the letter for an enlarged view.
Endsleigh Financial can help with UK mortgages

Please be patient

There is a gap in the letters at the moment which I can't explain. Maybe there was a small bundle that was lost. I just don't know. Maybe Harry had a leave during this time and so didn't write letters. All I can do in this gap is to keep you up to date with his Unit's War Diary. We can see from that that Harry is not seeing too much action.

If you're new to blogs, this may be quite difficult to follow sensibly. Unlike a standard diary, blogs work in reverse. The older material is at the bottom, the newest stuff is at the top.