Rank:


Private

Service No(s):


S/7469

Regiment:


Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own)

Unit:

3rd Battalion

Returned:

No

Place of birth:

Islington - Middlesex

Occupation:

Electric Tram Car Conductor for MET

Date of death:

28/07/1915

Cause of death:

Died of wounds

Grave or panel reference:

I. C. 83.

Name of father:

William

Name of siblings:

William J G, Frederick, Richard, Charles A

Name(s) of children:

Alice Lilian Amy, Ethel Marie

Died:

Yes

Date of birth:

Place of enlistment:

Edmonton - Middlesex

Event:

France and Flanders

Age at death:

35

Cemetery or memorial:

Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France

Other memorial:

Underground War Memorial

Name of mother:

Eliza A

Name of spouse:

Maria Alice

Address:

33 Forest Road, Lower Edmonton, London

Biography:

Henry Cross was born in Islington in 1880 or 1881, the second of seven children of William and Eliza Cross. In 1906, he married Maria Alice Childs in St Peter’s Church, Lower Edmonton, Enfield, where both their daughters, Alice Lilian Amy (1906) and Ethel Marie (1911), were later baptised.

The 1911 Census lists the Cross family as living in Forest Road, Lower Edmonton, by which time Henry was working as an electric tram car conductor for the Metropolitan Electric Tramways. He enlisted for war duty in Edmonton and joined the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own), as part of the 3rd Battalion. In the First World War, the Middlesex Regiment formed a total of 49 battalions because of the high numbers of volunteers such as Henry who were seeking to enlist.

Forces War Records show Henry’s battalion fought in the Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge, part of the Battles of Ypres, from 24 May to 26 September 1915. On the first day of the battle, the German Army staged a gas and infantry attack on British troops on Bellewaarde and it is highly likely that during this action Henry received his fatal injury. However, records show that he died of his wounds in France only on 28 July 1915. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in Nord, France.

William and Eliza had already lost one of their sons in the First World War in 1915. Six months earlier, HM Submarine E10, on which Henry’s younger brother Frederick, was Acting Leading Stoker, was believed to have struck a mine off the coast of Germany, and all 31 crew were lost in the North Sea.

It is likely Henry was awarded the 1914-15 Star campaign medal of the British Empire for his service in the First World War, and he would also have received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

As well as being commemorated at St Mellitus, he is among the 1,450 servicemen whose names appear on the Underground War Memorial at 55 Broadway, St James’s Park, London. Nearly 17,000 personnel from Underground companies enlisted for active service. A memorial service for those of them who died in the First World War was held at St Margaret’s, Westminster, the parish church of the House of Commons on 10 June 1925, the same day that the memorial was unveiled.

Also see Henry’s ‘Meet the Soldier’ blog post.