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Old 23-06-14, 06:24
Jill Jill is offline
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Default (12) Henry Thorley Attree 4504, 18th (Queen Marys Own Royal Hussars)

12th of the Old Boys of St Wilfrid's School, Haywards Heath to die in WW1.

Henry was born in Leeds in 1878, to Jesse Henry Attree, a brewer’s manager and his wife Lillie. By 1881 they were in Sussex (one of his siblings was born on Portslade in 1882) and in 1891 were living at 2 Mill Green Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex.

Henry had joined the army before 1900 - he had been wounded at Ladysmith in the Boer War and came home as a local hero - met at the station by a reception committee, the Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, the Church Lads Brigade, the Fire Brigade and the Town Band following which he left in a carriage decorated with flowers and flags and made a speech to the crowd outside his home about only doing his duty. I have not found him in 1901, as he was in the army it is likely that he was serving abroad, but his parents lived near The Star pub.

Henry married Gladys Mary Davison in Yorkshire in 1908 and they had a daughter Kathleen, born in Cork in 1909. In 1911 they were all at Aliwal Barracks, South Tidworth, Hampshire where he was a Sergeant. His son Noel was born on Christmas Day 1914 and they had another child.

Henry was killed in action on 13 May 1915, aged 37. His medal card shows he had been reduced from Sergeant Major to Private for drunkenness, although by the time of his death he had gone up one rank to Lance Corporal. He has no known grave though his name is on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres. His father died the same year, on Christmas Eve 1915, and the family added a memorial to Henry on his father’s grave in St Wilfrid’s churchyard, Haywards Heath, where they referred to him as a Sergeant Major, they were either unaware of his demotion, or understandably unwilling to record it.

His widow Gladys remarried in 1922 to Leonard Darch who had been a Regimental Sergeant Major in the same regiment as Henry, and ran a pub in York called the Woolpack, she died in 1947. Kathleen and Noel both went on to marry and have children, Kathleen died in 2000 and Noel in 2001.

The following pieces about Henry appeared in the local newspaper:

MID SUSSEX TIMES 1st JUNE 1915
SERGEANT MAJOR H ATTREE, HAYWARDS HEATH
Much sympathy will be felt with Mr H Attree (Manager of Messrs Dudney & Co’s Brewery Stores of Haywards Heath) & Mrs Attree of 2 Nascott Villas, Haywards Heath, in the sad news they received yesterday (Monday). This was to the effect that one of their sons, Sergeant Major Henry Attree No 4504 of the 18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars was killed in action in France on May 13th. The Hussars were bombarded for 11 hours and every officer and non-commissioned officer in his squadron was either killed or wounded. Sergeant Major Attree had been in the Army for 19 years. He served in the South African wars and possessed 3 medals, with 7 bars, including the award for the defence of Ladysmith. Before he enlisted with the Regular Army he served a as a Bugler in “B” (Haywards Heath) Company 2nd VB Royal Sussex Regiment, being employed at that time in the office of the late Mr Edward Waugh. Sergeant Major Attree who was 37 years of age leaves a widow and 3 children, now residing at York. He had been out at the Front in the present war since August 15th without without having had leave for a single day. Of him it may well be written: “He was a brave and gallant soldier.”

MID SUSSEX TIMES 8th JUNE 1915
MR & MRS ATTREE & family, 2 Gower Road, wish to sincerely thank all those who have so very kindly expressed their sympathy for them in their sorrow. They have received a note from Lord Kitchener expressing the King’s and Queen’s sympathy.


His widow Gladys was paid £13 8s 5d on 6th October 1915 representing his pay, and on 23rd Sep 1919 a War Gratuity of £5.


Henry's memorial on his parents' grave.

Last edited by Jill; 19-01-15 at 17:31. Reason: effects/gratuity
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