Harry James HIGGS
Geddington Roll of Honour 1914-18
Service No: 9142
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry – 2nd Battalion
Died: 12/11/1914, in the First Battle of Ypres, aged 19
Memorial: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium – Panel: 37 and 39.
War Office Information: Son of George and Eliza Higgs, of Grange Road, Geddington, Kettering, Northants.
One of four sons of parents George & Eliza Higgs to serve in the war, Harry’s story is best told through a newspaper report of the time. He had served for 5 years in the Regimental Band before going to France with the Expeditionary Force in August 1914
1901 Census: West Street, Geddington
George Higgs (father); Aged 34; domestic gardener; b. Hambleden, Bucks
Eliza Higgs (mother); Aged 35; b. Stepney, Middx.
Edwin D Higgs (brother); Aged 10; b. Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Olive E C Higgs (sister); Aged 9; b. Tunbridge Wells
George Higgs (brother); Aged 7; b. Spitalfields, London
Harry J Higgs; Aged 6; b. Addington, Bucks
Stephen E Higgs (brother); Aged 4; b. Hambleden, Bucks
Rose E Higgs (sister); Aged 1; b. Geddington
Press Information: Joan Higgs of Pipers Close, Kettering, got in touch to tell us [local paper] about her brother-in-law Harry, who died aged just 19 at Ypres.
“Harry Higgs, born in 1895, was accepted into the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in 1910 to train as a bandsman.
He completed his training at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, near Twickenham.
He lived with his family in Geddington which, in the early 20th century, was a small community and everyone was known to each other.
His sisters have told me that he caused quite a stir in the village when he came home on leave, looking very smart in his dress uniform.
The girls were all after him, telling each other that Harry Higgs was home.
When war was declared, being in the regular army and trained, he was immediately sent to France.
His parents received a letter from him in October 1914 to say that he was quite well.
Less than a month later he was killed at Ypres, aged 19.
As he has no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate at Ypres. He was the first casualty of the war in Geddington.
Harry was the fourth child of George and Eliza Higgs. His three older brothers also served throughout the war. George was a prisoner of war for four years. Stephen died at the age of 24 as a result of the war and the elder brother, Edwin, survived unscathed.
Perhaps a very unpretentious story, no record of great valour, but so typical of all the lovely young men of that time, with the promise of a bright succesful future. Just slaughtered.
I have been to see his name on the Menin Gate, it made me very sad, but also very proud.”
Original source unknown.