28th Battalion, Artists Rifles
Place of birth:
Date of death:
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Name of father:
Name of siblings:
Annie; Ethel; Jessie
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Place of enlistment:
Artists Rifles HQ, The Drill Hall, Dukes Place, London WC1
Home Service, Eastern Command
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Name of mother:
Emma Jemima, nee Adams
Name of spouse:
Edith Annie nee Wells
1911: 33 Sedgemere Avenue, East Finchley, London N2
Henry Richard Creighton, known as Harry, was born in Hornsey in late 1877 and baptised at New Court Chapel on 17 March 1878. His parents were Richard (1842-1909) and Emma Jemima (nee Adams, 1842-1926.) The family lived at 63 Woodstock Road N4 in the 1880s and at 28 Ferme Park Road N4 from the 1890s.
In 1906 Harry married Edith Annie Wells; their daughter Edyth Jessie was born in 1908/9. At the start of the war Harry was practising as an architect with London County Council and living in East Finchley.
Harry’s father, Richard, came from Carlisle in Cumbria, and by 1871 he was working as a Lace Warehouseman in the City of London. This was his trade throughout his life. When he died in 1909 he left his estate of £7169.15s.4d (nearly £900,000 today) to his widow Emma. Richard was a Trustee of New Court Chapel and for some time Superintendent of the Sunday School. The church has a window by WG Langford, depicting Mary, installed in 1910 as a memorial to him.
As a young man, Harry Creighton served as a volunteer with the 20th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers (Artists). The Artists Rifles was a very unusual regiment. Many of the original members were well-known in the art world such as Lord Leighton and Holman Hunt, but the unit also included architects, music hall performers and medical students as well as City clerks and others who joined for the Artists’ well-known social life. In 1908 the Artists Rifles became part of the newly-formed Territorial Force as the 28th Battalion, London Regiment (Artists Rifles). During the First World War the poet Wilfred Owen and the painter Paul Nash were among those who served with the Artists.
Harry rejoined the regiment on 1 November 1915 at their Headquarters in the drill hall in Dukes Road, London WC1, now The Place dance theatre, where the Regiment’s name can still be seen above the door. At this time conscription was about to be introduced and Harry must have felt he might as well serve with his former unit.
The Artists were one of three London Territorial units which were earmarked as officer-training units as well as line units. The majority of men who joined had an ambition to be commissioned as an officer and to be posted to another regiment. For whatever reason, Harry was not selected for a commission.
Harry was immediately posted as a Private to the 2nd Battalion, who were deployed at Hare Hall training camp at Gidea Park in Essex. They were used to train reserves for the 1st Battalion who were fighting in France and other potential officers. The camp trained over 10,000 officers from 1914 to 1918.
Harry’s service record shows that he was medically graded C2 in October 1916 which means he was considered fit for Home Service only so he never served overseas. The Army defined Category C2 as “able to walk to and from work a distance not exceeding five miles and hear sufficiently well for ordinary purposes”.
Harry was promoted to Corporal on 23 March 1916 and remained at Hare Hall until demobilised in February 1919.
After the war, Harry continued to live in East Finchley and later in Finchley. He died on 22 January 1955.
Also see Harry’s ‘Meet the Soldier’ blog post.