Harry CLAYTON
Rank: Private
Number: 13434
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 25 April 1917
Age: 24
Cemetery: Baghdad (North gate) War Cemetery, Iraq

Harry was born in the parish of St Thomas' C of E Church, Stockport. He lived with his parents at 55 Bamford Street and was working at Needham's iron foundry on Millgate until he enlisted in September 1914.

Clearly a man of strong views, he hadpreviously written to the Stockport Advertiser about munitions workers. In October 1916, his subject was conscientious objectors:-

"When I read about conscientious objectors out here, it makes my blood boil and the same with all my comrades......I am pleased to say I have not read of any conscience men in Stockport and I hope I never will....If I had my way with the conscience men, I would have them all brought out to the front and make listening patrols of them between our firing line and the enemy's, or covering parties for the engineers when they are  barb-wiring. They would not have to kill, but they would have to look out for themselves. And I think if they had one or two of their lads knocked out while they were running beside them, they would not only want to kill but to annihilate."

Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire and an ally of Germany. Then as now, Britain relied heavily on oil from the area. When war broke out in August 1914, British troops were quickly sent to the area to protect its interests by occupying the oilfields and pipeline near Basra. 

Conditions for the men were appalling. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to very high levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital.

Harry died of heatstroke.

   
           
   
     
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