Walter Edmund HARRISON
Rank: Corporal
Number: 12430
Unit: 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Date of Death: 24 September 1916
Age: 24
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Very little is known about Walter Harrison. Regimental records note that he had been born in Chester but was living in Stockport when he enlisted into the army, locally. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his next of kin as his parents, Mr & Mrs E Harrison, 25 Basil Street, Stockport.

The opening day of the Battle of the Somme was 1 July and, on many parts of the battlefield, the expected successes had simply failed to happen. The battle settled down into a long, hard slog gaining small amounts of ground in periodic smaller scale attacks. Weeks later, objectives for the first day, were still in German hands.

25th September was intended for yet another push; this time in the south of the battlefield toward the German position at Morval. On the 24th, the Borderers moved into their assembly trenches a few hundred yards away from the enemy. During the day, British artillery started a bombardment on the German trenches. It was necessary to do this to smash the barbed wire and destroy the German trench system. However, it always had the effect of announcing that an attack was imminent. German artillery would open up in retaliation, trying to seek out the positions of the opposing guns and also trying to cause as many casualties among the assembled troops. It is most likely that Walter will have been killed by one of these shells.

He may have been, literally, blown to bits and this accounts for why has no known grave. It is also possible that he was buried by his mates after the next day's attack and the location of his grave was lost during the remaining years of fighting. His name is now inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at nearby Thiepval.

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