Harry's father had died when he was a young boy and his mother, Ellen, had remarried in the early 1890s. Her new husband was John Mullin, a general labourer. When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living at Marple Bridge and the couple had had four children together.
In 1909, Harry married Annie Naden at All Saints Church, Marple and they set up home together at Hawk Green where they would have two children. He had worked as an under-carder at Goyt Mill but not long before the War he had gone to work for Hollins Mill Ltd. The Company had a mill in Marple but also had offices and warehousing in Manchester's city centre. It is possible that this is where Harry worked as he is known to have enlisted at Manchester.
He joined the fifth of the "Pals" battalions being formed by the Manchester Regiment. This was officially designated as the 20th Battalion of the Regiment and it was recruited at the beginning of November 1914. A year later, it was ready to go on active service and Harry had time for only a short leave back home before leaving for France. Some details of the Battalion's recruitment and training can be found here.
On the day he was killed, Harry was in the trenches as the Battalion was undertaking another tour of duty in the front line. They were carrying out the normal day-to-day work of deepening the trenches and repairing and improving the defences. The Battalion's War Diary, written at the time, makes no mention of casualties but it does note that they were subject to some shelling by trench mortars during the day.
However, in their book "Remembered", about the men remembered on the Marple War Memorial, the authors, P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff, quote one of Harry's comrades saying he had been shot by a sniper.