Harrison, John A

John Adshead Harrison, 2nd Lieutenant, 31st Bn. Machine Gun Corps
Killed in action 12th April 1918 in France, aged 28

 

EARLY LIFE

Son of William and Lucy Harrison (nee Adshead), of Macclesfield; husband of Sybil Harrison, of Croft Cottage, Lane Ends, Sutton, Macclesfield.

John married Sybil Dodds at St Michael’s Church in 1913. The couple had two children.

 

WW1 SERVICE

John enlisted in the local 7th Cheshire (Territorial) Regiment with service number 4641, and was later allocated service number 291655. After training he became an officer in the Machine Gun Corps.

On 26 April 1918, the Macclesfield Times reported that John had been killed:

Lieut J A Harrison, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in France on April 13. The intelligence was conveyed to his wife, who resides at Lane Ends, Sutton, by an officer who stated that Lieut Harrison fell to a machine-gun bullet. Lieut Harrison enlisted as a private in the Macclesfield Territorials, and after training at Oswestry, joined an OTC, from which he was gazetted to a machine-gun corps.

In France some months ago he was slightly wounded but returned to the firing line after three days’ hospital treatment. He had been in the trenches on that occasion for twenty days, during which period he had been unable to change his clothing. He was in Macclesfield on leave a few weeks ago.

Lieut Harrison was the son of the late Mr Wm Harrison and of Mrs Harrison, Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, and two brothers are serving. Captain F A Harrison gained rapid promotion, and is one of the youngest of that rank in the Army. He is at present serving in Italy.

In civilian life Lieut Harrison was in business with his brothers as corn merchants. A fine sportsman – in fact, Macclesfield has never produced a better – the Lieutenant was for many years Captain of the Macclesfield Cricket Club, and as a bowler was recognised as being one of the best in Cheshire. He had several times assisted the County team. He was also a keen golfer and tennis player, and won the fifty-guinea golf cup whilst a member of the local club. In his school days at the Macclesfield Grammar School he was extremely prominent on the athletic side. Deep sympathy is extended to his wife and family in their bereavement.

 

On 11 May 1918, the Macclesfield Courier printed a copy of an obituary first published in the Evening Chronicle newspaper:

THE LATE LIEUTENANT J A HARRISON – Writing in the “Sports and Pastimes” Column of the “Evening Chronicle” on Saturday last, “Red Rose,” a well-known cricket writer, thus refers to the late Lieutenant J A Harrison, who was killed in action recently on the Western Front:- “It is with profound regret that I read Lieutenant J A Harrison had been killed. “Jack” Harrison, a cheery young man, belonged to the firm of W Harrison and Son, of Macclesfield and Trafford Park, corn merchants. I knew him as the captain of the Macclesfield Cricket Club, and a fast bowler, who had occasionally played for Cheshire. Although an ardent Association footballer and a good golfer, he was, above all, a cricketer. I remember that I saw him last when Mr Vernon Hope’s team played “All England” for the benefit of the Macclesfield Infirmary, in July of last summer. He had taken part in a match before when I stood umpire, and I was surprised with his vitality and sporting spirit. The ground was too soft for a fast bowler in July, but he was an enthusiastic co-operator, and would, I believe, have caught Frank Field, at long-on, before the Warwickshire man made the winning hit if he had not been handicapped by the chairs on the boundary line.”

 

 

COMMEMORATION

Second Lieut John Harrison is buried at Aval Wood Military Cemetery, France, in grave ref. III. C. 14. His widow paid for the inscription “TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WE LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Second Lieut John Harrison, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Second Lieut John Harrison is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church, Macclesfield Grammar School, Old Boys’ Club, and Macclesfield Golf Club war memorials, and on the Macclesfield Cricket Club and Old Boys’ Club rolls of honour.

 

NOTES

Brother of Frank Arthur Harrison, who was awarded the rank of Captain in the Manchester Regt one month before his 21st birthday, one of the youngest men with that rank, and later served with the 91st T.M.B.; and William Bromley Harrison, who served as Corporal 369323 with the Army Service Corps Remount depot.

 

SOURCES

CheshireBMD: Marriages
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WWI Absent Voters Lists: (FindMyPast) Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website

Macclesfield Times: 26 April 1918
Macclesfield Courier: 11 May 1918


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