Private Harry Morgan


This North Irish Horseman was probably the Harry Morgan born in 1888 in Leicester, one of ten children of tram car conductor Henry Morgan and his wife Eliza. His father died when he was around seven years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 165 Tudor Road, Leicester, with his mother and two of his seven surviving siblings, and working as a general labourer. He was married at some point between 1911 and 1920, living at 26 Acorn Street, Melton Road, Leicester.

Morgan enlisted in the Leicester Yeomanry on 21 May 1915 (No.3236 – later Corps of Hussars No.255907), probably serving with the 3/1 Leicesters at Aldershot, part of the 3rd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry formed on 1917. Later that year or in 1918 he was transferred to the North Irish Horse.

It was probably in 1918 that he embarked for France, where he was posted to E Squadron of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. This regiment was serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, but in February-March 1918 it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

At the beginning of October 1918, during the Advance to Victory offensive, E Squadron was camped east of Epehy, near the German defences on the St Quentin Canal. The squadron war diary recorded:

[1-2 October] Attached 100th Inf Brdge 33rd Division. Sent out a patrol under 2/Lt Downey to reconnoitre Canal de St Quentin ... preparatory to small raiding operations on following night which however never took place.

[3 October] 15 ORs Gassed by gas shelling. Sqdn moved forward to Battn H.Q. owing to report that enemy were retiring. This did not prove to be the case, so Sqdn moved back to previous location and were engaged in afternoon on salvage work.

Morgan was one of the men gassed that day.

On 24 January 1919 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to the gassing, his level of disability assessed at 20 per cent in June 1920.