Harry CRITCHLOW
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 263130
Unit: 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion BORDER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 20 October 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension, Solesmes, Nord, France

Harry was born in Mellor, the son of George and Frances. The family was still living in the village at the time of the 1901 Census when George, then aged 49, was recorded as working as a bleacher. Frances was 47. Harry was the youngest child, aged 4. His older brothers and sisters were George (22), Lucy (20), Frances (18), James (12), and John (9).

Harry probably enlisted in early 1915 and was assigned to the Welsh Division's Cyclist Company (service number 249). The Cyclists would undertake reconnaissance work and also act as despatch riders. He probably went overseas in the May and saw action at Gallipoli. At some point, he was away from duty for quite a while. It is not known if this was due to wounds or illness. When he had recovered and returned to duty he was given a new service number, 19909.

At some later point, perhaps after another illness or injury, he was transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and given the service number 238065. This is consistent with him being assigned to the 1/4th Territorial battalion of that Regiment, sometime after January 1917. Later again, he had a transfer to the Border Regiment and his final service number is consistent with that being to the 1/5th Territorials. In the early summer of 1918, this battalion was broken up and Harry will, once again, have found himself with a new unit.

On 17th October, with the War nearly over, the Battle of the Selle started. Two days later, the 7th Borders left Montigny to take up assembly positions for an attack the next day. The plan was that the troops of 50th Brigade would capture the village of Neuvilly. 51st Brigade, including the Borders, would pass through them to capture the next village, Amerval. The village is approximately 30 kilometres south east of the French town of Cambrai.

50th Brigade attacked at 2am and captured all its objectives. As planned, 51st Brigade moved forward and entered Amerval at 4am. Before they had time to secure the position, they were heavily counter-attacked and pushed out of the village. After resting and regrouping, they attacked again later in the day and retook the village just after dark and held it until they were relieved on the evening of the 21st.

Harry was one of 27 men who had been killed during the day. Several were shot by snipers, including the commanding officer, Colonel Thomas.

   
           
   
     
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