Harry Lewis WYCH
Rank: Private
Number: 16340
Unit: 1st Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Date of Death: 13 August 1915
Age: 26
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

Harry's parents were James and Mary Wych (nee Hankinson) who had married early in 1885. Harry was their elder child and they had another son, Herbert, who was born about 1896. James is believed to have died before his second son was born.  In the late of 1899, Mary remarried to cabinet maker David Young, a man much older than she was and in his late 50s. They quickly had a child together, who they called Thomas and, in 1901, a second son called Arthur. Harry and Herbert do not appear to have been officially adopted by David and retained their own surnames.

In later life, Harry went to work in Manchester's cotton industry being employed as a doubler at the mill of C F Bennett and Co (and is commemorated in the company's entry in the "Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour" - page 496).

Harry probably joined the army in late 1914 or early 1915 and, after training, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, KOSB, as above. At that early stage of the War, men could pretty much request which Regiment they served with and it is now known that Harry's father was Scottish.

The 1st Battalion was part of the regular army and, when it returned from service in India, it was quickly sent to fight at Gallipoli, in Turkey. After training, Harry was sent out as part of draft of replacements for casualties. He boarded the HMS Royal Edward, leaving Avonmouth on 28th July. The ship was commanded by Commander P. M. Watton R.N.R., with a crew of 220, 31 officers and 1335 men.

The German submarine UB14, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Heino von Heimbury and a crew of 14 was heading for the Dardenelles. On 6th July she fired her torpedoes and sank the Italian armoured cruiser, Amalfi, off Venice, and she arrived in Bodrun on 24th July.

After leaving Bodrun she sighted the P & O liner, Soudan, in service as a hospital ship. She then sighted the Royal Edward which was sailing without an escort to Mudros. The UB14 fired a torpedo which hit the Royal Edward's stern. The Royal Edward sank within six minutes. Of the 1586 on board, less than 500 were rescued. Harry's body was never recovered and identified.

After the War, Mary was living at 21 Ince Street, Heaton Norris. Information recently received from a descendent confirms that Herbert Wych suffered from a chest complaint and was not fit for military service. Harry's service medals remain with the family.

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