The inscription on the Cheadle Hulme War Memorial appears to wrongly record Harry’s surname as Daniels. All official records, including birth certificates, 1901 Census and the War Graves Commission, spell it as Daniel.
When the Census was taken, Joseph Daniel was the tenant of Orrish Mere Farm in Adswood where he lived with his wife, Mary, and two children, Harry and Edith. Harry had been born in nearby Handforth and it may have been only recently that they had moved to the farm. They were still there at the time of the War but later moved to 47 Cheadle Road, Cheadle Hulme.
Harry enlisted in Stockport, but, other than this, nothing is known about his private life or military service. His service number suggests that he was not an early recruit.
Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery were armed with the smallest calibre and most mobile of artillery pieces. “C” Battery would have been equipped with four 18 pounder guns and would have been situated only a little way behind the front line. There would have been about 200 men in the Battery. Harry’s rank is the artillery version of a Lance Corporal.
In October 1917, the brigade was at Gheluvelt in the Ypres salient of Belgium. At one point it was supporting an attack by Australian forces on the village of Broodseinde. The Brigade’s War Diary makes no specific mention of casualties on the day Harry was killed. However, at the end of the month, during which 29 soldiers had died, the Diary records “During the month, a continuous artillery duel was carried out, assuming great intensity at times. The system of creeping barrage in depth was continued before, during and after each attack. In addition, harassing fire was carried out night and day as well as organised bursts of fire and periods of silence. The state of the ground presented considerable difficulty in the supply of ammunition and movement of guns. Casualties to the latter were extensive and it was found impossible to replace damaged pieces owing to the absence of roads or tracks”.
It must be assumed that Harry was killed during part of the “duel”. Over two thirds of the burials in The Huts Cemetery are artillery men.
(Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)