Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Place of birth:
Islington - Middlesex
School Hairdresser's Lather Boy
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Killed in action
Grave or panel reference:
Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B.
Name of father:
Name of siblings:
Frank, Beatrice, Harriett, George, John, Florence, Eugenie, Joseph, Albert, Louisa, Stanley
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
France and Flanders
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Thiepval Memorial, France
Royal Northern Hospital Arch; St Mark's Church, Tollington Park
Name of mother:
Harriett Hart (nee Gibbons)
Name of spouse:
23 Fonthill Road (1911 Census)
In 1911 the Hart family lived at 23 Fonthill Road, close to New Court Congregational Chapel and the Mission it ran in Lennox Road. Harry was one of 13 children of Frank, a bricklayer, and his wife Harriett, nee Gibbons. Frank died in 1907 and Harriett became head of the household with eight children, aged from 29 to 7, living at home in 1911. Harry was the third youngest at 13, working as a School Hairdresser’s Lather Boy.
Harry’s military records have been lost, but we know that he served as a Private in the 1st/7th Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Regiment.
The regiment had 15 battalions in the field at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, including Harry’s. The 1/7th served with the 167th Brigade, 56th (London) Division. They were on the Somme before the battle and helped dig assembly trenches near Hebuterne. On 1 July 1916, the first day of the battle, they were in reserve for Gommecourt, a diversionary attack. They trained with tanks in August 1916 near Abbeville and fought in the battles for Leuze Wood and Bouleaux Wood (known to the soldiers as ‘Bully Wood’) in September. The Battle of the Somme was bloody for the Middlesexes: in one attack with tanks on Bouleaux Wood on 15 September, Harry’s battalion lost over 300 men out of 500 who took part in the attack. Harry Hart is recorded as being killed in action the next day, 16 September 1916. He was just 19 years old.
In March 1917 Harry’s mother received his Service Gratuity of £3.18s. and in October 1919, his War Gratuity of £3. This was the minimum war gratuity, which shows that Harry was quite new in the Army with less than 12 months qualifying service.
Harry is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. This bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before the second Battle of the Somme in 1918 and have no known grave. Harry’s older brother John was killed in action in that second Battle of the Somme in March 1918, and is commemorated at the Pozieres Memorial.
Harry is also commemorated at St Mark’s Church in Tollington Park, close to the family home, and on the Borough of Islington war memorial. This takes the form of a memorial arch, erected by public subscription in 1923, at the entrance to the then Royal Northern Hospital in Holloway Road. The original tablets are inscribed with 1307 names of men killed in the First World War. A new plaque installed in 2016 reads ’In Memory Of The Men Of Islington And Finsbury Who Died In The Service Of Their Country In France At The Battle Of The Somme July-November 1916. Lest We Forget.’