Harry was born in Patricroft, near Eccles. By the time of the 1901 Census, the family were living at 16 Roman Road, Stockport and his mother, 36 year old Maggie, was a recent widow. She worked as a charwoman and made extra money by taking in two boarders. There were five children - Alfred (then 10), Harry (6), Alice (4), William (2) and Annie (4 months).
Harry joined the regular army in early 1914 and when war was declared in August, the Battalion was in Dublin. It was one of the first to arrive on the Western Front and it took part in the fighting of the early days at Mons, Le Cateau and the Battle of the Marne.
On 17 November, the Battalion was in trenches near Mount Kemmel, south west of Ypres (now Ieper). The Regimental History records that an enemy attack was driven off by rifle fire. The next day, they came under attack from German "Minnies" - minenwerfer or trench mortars - for the first time. There were no dug-outs at that stage so the men had little protection from the shells that would drop amongst them. That night a new section of trench had to be dug with the aid of Royal Engineers and the day saw 20 casualties dead or wounded.
It may be that Harry was literally blown to bits and there was nothing left to bury. If he was buried by his mates, his grave was destroyed in the following four years of fighting and he now has no known burial place. His name is inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at Ieper.