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Leonard Harrop

Private Leonard Harrop, 38106, Manchester Regiment, 13th Battalion

Leonard Harrop was born in Ossett in 1887, the sixth child of seven born to John William Harrop and his wife, Mary Jane (nee Blacker), who married in 1876. John William was born in Ossett and Mary Jane was born in Horbury. All of the children were born in Ossett.

In 1891, the family were living on High Street, Gawthorpe, where John William Harrop was working as a joiner. Their children, including Leonard, were aged between 4 and 13, and were all at school. By 1901, four of the boys were working with their father as joiners, but Leonard was still at school. The family were still living at High Street, Gawthorpe.

In 1911, Leonard Harrop, aged 24, has moved away and is boarding with a family in Oldham, where he is working as a wireman for the National Telegraph Company. Leonard Harrop married Miriam Clegg at Oldham in September 1912 and they appear not to have had any children.

Leonard’s mother, Mary Jane Harrop of High Street Gawthorpe died on the 23rd April 1916. Leonard Harrop’s army service record has not survived but it is known that he enlisted at Chadderton, Oldham, Lancashire.

Leonard Harrop's brother Sapper Ernest Harrop also lost his life in 1917 whilst serving with the Royal Engineers.

The 13th (Service) Battalion, Manchester was raised at Ashton-under-Lyne in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's Third New Army, and joined 25th Division as army troops. They moved to Seaford and in October transferred to 66th Brigade, 22nd Division. In November they moved to billets in Eastbourne for the winter, returning to Seaford in March 1915. In May they moved to Aldershot for final training. They proceeded to France in early September, the division concentrating near Flesselles. In October they moved to Marseilles by train and embarked for Salonika on the 27th. 67th Brigade, 9th Borders, 68th Field Ambulance and the Advanced Divisional HQ saw their first action in the second week of December in the Retreat from Serbia. In 1916 the division fought in the the Battle of Horseshoe Hill and Battle of Machukovo.

In 1917 they were in action during the Battles of Doiran. On the 22nd of June 1918 the 13th Manchesters left 22nd Division and returned to France, arriving at Abancourt on the 11th of July. They joined 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division on the 21st and absorbed the 17th Manchesters on the 30th of July. On the 13th of August 1918 the 13th Manchesters were absorbed by the 1/9th Manchesters.

The Official History gives some interesting information on British Army casualties during the Salonika campaign 1915/1918 in which the 13th Manchesters played a part. Battle casualties totalled 23,762 (Officers 1157), whilst non-battle casualties amounted to 481,262 in number of which 13,843 were officers. The All-Ranks total admitted to hospital suffering from malaria was 163,000 including deaths.

In 1917, in order to better control the incidence of this disease, almost 35,000 of all ranks were evacuated to the UK in 1917-18 under a special scheme.

Since there was no specific action ongoing on the 13th November 1917, and no information has yet been found in the "Ossett Observer" archive, it is hard to decide how Private Leonard Harrop lost his life. The most likely cause is disease, but that cannot be verified at this stage.

Private Leonard Harrop was posthumously awarded the British and Victory Medals, but not the 1914/15 Star, indicating that he did not serve overseas before the 31st December 1915.

Private Leonard Harrop was killed in action on the 13th November 1917 and is buried at grave reference F. 1379. at the Karasouli Military Cemetery,1 Greece. Karasouli Military Cemetery is on the edge of the town of Polykastro (formerly Karasouli) which lies some 73 kilometres from Thessaloniki, between the River Axios (Vardas) and the south end of Lake Ardzan (now dry and replaced by a reservoir). The cemetery is behind the football stadium and is next to the Civil Cemetery.

The cemetery was begun in September 1916 for the use of casualty clearing stations on the Doiran front. At the Armistice, it contained about 500 burials but was greatly increased when graves were brought in from the following cemeteries:

Hadzi Bari Mah Military Cemetery - graves transferred to Karasouli in April 1919.
Hadzi Bari Mah (also known as Haji Bari Mahalesi) is a village at the foot of the mountains 14 miles West of Lake Doiran, across the Vardar river. The Military Cemetery, South of the village, was in use only from the 25th August to the 17th September 1918. It contained 61 British and 2 Bulgar graves, and 46 of these were the graves of men of the 10th Hampshires and the 2nd Gloucesters who captured the enemy salient here on the 1st September.

Caussica Military Cemetery - graves transferred to Karasouli in November 1920.
Caussica (also known as Chaushitsa) is a village in the marshes on the North side of Lake Ardzan. The Military Cemetery, begun in February 1917, contained 62 burials from Field Ambulances; but in February 1919, it was increased by the removal to it of four isolated graves and of those from the Military Cemeteries of:-
Senelle Ravine, a front line position between Doiran town and the Greek border, where the British cemetery contained 95 British graves.
Gugunci (properly Chuguntsi), a village about four miles North-East of Caussica, where between August 1916, and September 1918, the Field Ambulances buried 154 British soldiers.
Doldzeli (or La Tortue, or Torquay), a front-line cemetery a mile South West of Lake Doiran with 23 British graves.
Reselli (or Ereselli), a village three miles North-West of Caussica, where the 13th Manchesters began a cemetery of 31 British graves.
Kilindir (or Krundirtsi), a village with a railway junction three miles South of Lake Doiran, where 45 British soldiers were buried in two cemeteries.
Ardzan (Arjan, or Harajinovo), a village two miles West of Caussica, where the 12th Cheshires began a front-line cemetery of 22 British graves.

Kalinova Military Cemetery - graves transferred to Karasouli in December 1920.
Kalinova is a village two miles North East of Caussica, at the foot of the hills which stand between Lakes Ardzan and Doiran. The Military Cemetery, used by Field Ambulances from October 1917, to September 1918, contained at the Armistice 52 British graves; but early in 1919 there were brought into it the British graves from the Military Cemeteries of-
Kalinova No.2 - 18 graves.
Rates, a village five miles South of Lake Doiran - 11 graves.
Cidemli, a village 2.5 miles to the North, where the small cemeteries of the 8th D.C.L.I. and the 117th Brigade, R.F.A., and two others contained 30 British graves.
Senelle Ravine, where 35 British soldiers were buried in the French Military Cemetery.
Horseshoe Hill, captured by the O.B.L.I. in August 1916, a cemetery on the Greco Serbian boundary which held 162 British graves and was largely used in the fighting of April 1917.
Pearse Ravine, a front line cemetery containing 74 British grave.
Whaleback, Worcester Post, Bastion Hill, Crow Hill, Kidney Hill, Scratchbury Hill, Christmas Ravine, Clichy and other points named from positions opposite the Petit Couronne and the Grand-Couronne, where 94 British soldiers in all were buried.

Karasouli Military Cemetery now contains 1,421 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 56 being unidentified.

References:

1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site