Harry had spent his first few years in Salford, where he had been born on 29 October 1893, the son of Frederick and Ada. He had a younger brother who was named after their father. The family had come to live in the Stockport area in the very late 1890s and the youngest child, Florence, was born in the town. In 1901, the family was living at 2Pprestwich Street, Heaviley and, later , at Hempshaw Lane.
Harry joined the army on 13 April 1915, leaving his job as a clerk with one of the railway companies. He was assigned to the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry and was given the service number of 4089. The Yeomanry was the cavalry of the Territorial force. His service file still exists at the National Archives and this shows that he was 5' 8" tall with a 34.5 inch chest. The examining doctor recorded he had good vision and physical development.
Harry went to France on 27 October 1915. He was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal on 21 June 1917 and this was made permanent the following month. However, this would be the end of Harry's time as a cavalryman. In early July, Harry had ten days leave in the UK. On 24 July, the process started of changing the Lancaster yeomanry into infantry and, in mid September, the men became part of the 12th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.
Harry's time in the Manchesters was short-lived as he had been selected to become an officer. He started at cadet school on 17 October and received his commission on 28 May 1918. The Commanding Officer of the cadet school had written that Harry was "steady and of a studious disposition". Harry had expressed a preference to become an officer in one of the Territorial Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers. He got his wish and his commission was into the Fusiliers' 5th Battalion, but it is not thought that he actually joined them on active service as, only three months later he would be mortally wounded whilst with the York and Lancasters.
Early August was the start of the British advances that would lead to the end of the War in mid-November. In the early hours of 25 August, Harry and his men went into the front line near the village of Mory (20 kilometres south of the French town of Arras). They were to take part in an attack at 9am.
At zero hour, "A" and "C" Companies advanced from their assembly positions in a sunken road. They immediately came under machine gun fire. In spite of heavy casualties, they pushed forward, but "C" Company, on the left, became stalled after about 300 yards. "A" Company managed to get another 100 yards further on. "D" Company was now sent forward to re-enforce them but they were still unable to move forward in a general advance. Small patrols were sent out and these managed to capture a number of prisoners.
The Battalion had been suffering casualties all day from enemy shellfire, but at around 4pm, it became so intense that "D" Company had to retreat almost back to the starting point.
An hour later, the enemy counter-attacked getting to within 200 yards of the British line The York and Lancasters and men from the Yorkshire Light Infantry now charged the Germans with fixed bayonets and drove them off. The ferocity of this charge forced the Germans to withdraw about 750 yards and this allowed the British to establish and consolidate a new line.
Sometime during the day, Harry had been badly wounded. He would have received treatment just behind the front line, from the Battalion's own medical officer but this would have been little more than first aid. He would then have been evacuated to one of the Casualty Clearing Stations (field hospitals) based some miles in the rear. There military surgeons would have done all they could to save his life but without success.