Henry (Harry) Vigrass, Private 290625, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 17th December 1917 in Palestine, aged 26
Henry Vigrass was born in 1891 and baptised on 7 March 1894 at St John’s Church, Statham St, Macclesfield, at the same time as his brothers John Joseph (born 6 March 1889) and Isaac (born 1894). They were the sons of Elizabeth and John Joseph Vigrass, a painter of 15 Henry St, Macclesfield.
Henry married Theresa McGowan in Macclesfield in 1915.
Henry was more commonly known as Harry.
Harry joined the local 7th Cheshire Regiment shortly after the outbreak of war with service number 2546, and was drafted overseas on 8 August 1915. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 11 January 1918:
FOOTBALLER’S DEATH – A TERRITORIAL’S SACRIFICE
Mrs Vigrass, 28 Fountain St, Macclesfield, has been officially notified that her husband, Pte Harry Vigrass, Cheshire Regt, was killed in action whilst fighting in Palestine of Dec 17th. Pte Vigrass was born in Macclesfield twenty-six years ago and was educated at Centenary School. He was associated with St George’s St Baptist Chapel and Sunday School, and as a civilian was employed at Messrs Brocklehurst’s Hurdsfield Mills, where he had been engaged practically since leaving school. The late Pte Vigrass enlisted in the Macclesfield Territorials just after the outbreak of war and participated in the landing at Suvla Bay in August 1915. He sustained a bullet wound in the leg on August 21st, and after a spell in hospital at Malta came over to England for further treatment. He was at Epsom and Kingston-upon-Thames and in all was in hospital for nine months. Upon recovery, the deceased soldier was drafted out to Egypt, where he had been about eighteen months. Pte Vigrass was a well-known local footballer and player for Messrs Brocklehurst in the Workshops competitions. Three brothers are serving with the colours, namely, Lance-Corpl. William Vigrass, Army Service Corps (in Mesopotamia); Lce-Cpl Jack, Cheshire Regt (in Egypt); and Pte Arthur, Cheshire Regt (stationed at Wrentham, Suffolk). The last named has a son in the Navy, who was in the Jutland battle.
Private Harry Vigrass is buried in Grave Ref. M. 14. in Jerusalem War Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Harry Vigrass, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website. For reasons unknown, Harry has been listed in the Commonwealth War Graves Committee’s records as M H Vigrass.
In Macclesfield, Harry Vigrass is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and St George’s Street Baptist Church war memorials, and the Ancient Order of Foresters roll of honour.
Brother of Lance-Corporal William Vigrass, who served in Mesopotamia with the Army Service Corps; Lance-Corporal Jack Vigrass, who served in Egypt with the Cheshire Regt; and Private Arthur Vigrass, who served with the Cheshire Regt at Wrentham, Suffolk. All are believed to have survived the war.
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St John’s Church, Macclesfield
Cheshire BMD: Marriages
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 11 January 1918 and 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)