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Harvey Grace

Private Harvey Grace, 2759, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 1st/4th Battalion

Harvey Grace was born in Ossett in 1893, the second child and second son of Ossett-born Harvey Clowes Grace and his wife, West Bromwich-born Elizabeth (nee Bradley) who married in the Dewsbury area in 1891. The couple had 11 children: seven boys and four girls. All were born in Ossett with the exception of the eldest child, Leonard, who was born in Staffordshire in 1892 and the fourth child, Clowes, who was born in Alverthorpe.

In 1901, the family were living at South Parade, Ossett as they were in 1911 when Harvey senior, a miner, and Elizabeth shared a four- roomed home with their 11 children, all born between 1892 and 1910. Harvey Grace junior, aged 17, was a colliery pony driver underground.

Harvey Grace’s army service record has not survived but it is known that he enlisted at Ossett and that he embarked for France on the 13th April 1915. He was posthumously awarded the British, Victory and 1914/15 Star medals.

German WW1 SniperThe 1st/4th Battalion of KOYLI was formed in August 1914 at Wakefield and was part of the 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. They moved on mobilisation to Doncaster and then in November 1914 to Gainsborough. The battalion moved again to York in February 1915 for training and on the 12th April 1915, they landed at Boulogne. On the 15th May 1915 the formation became 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division.

In December 1915, the 1st/4th KOYLI were located in the Ypres-Boesinghe line. There were no trench raids or any significant activity by the Germans up to the 4th of December when Harvey Grace died. However, the "1/4 KOYLI War Diary" notes the following:

"1.12.15 - Battalion in Brigade Reserve. Relieved 5th Y & L in front line (Skipton Road position).

2.12.15 - Very quiet night. Enemy machine guns and snipers rather active.

3.12.15 - Very quiet night. Enemy sent a number of heavy shells behind our lines and also shelled Skipton Road.

4.12.15 - Enemy machine guns active otherwise quiet. Floating lights 1.5 to 2 miles behind German lines noticed. Considerable sniping activity."

It seems likely that Private Grace was either wounded by a German sniper or possibly by shrapnel from a German shell, which ultimately cost him his life.

Private Harvey Grace, died from wounds on the 4th December 1915, aged 22 years, the son of Harvey and Elizabeth Grace, of Ossett. He is buried at grave reference C. 17. at the Hospital Farm Cemetery,1 Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Hospital Farm Cemetery is located 6.5 km west of Ieper town centre, on the Hospitaalstraat, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge.

Hospital Farm was the name given to a farm building used as a dressing station. The cemetery was used particularly in 1915 and in 1917 by regiments and batteries engaged in the fighting around Ypres.

The cemetery contains 115 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and one Belgian war grave.

References:

1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site