Henry Lafferty

HENRY LAFFERTY (1892 - 1914)

Henry joined the army, at the age of eighteen, in December 1910. He was supported by a reference from his employer of six months, farmer John Johnson of Dale Brow Cottage in Prestbury. The reference confirmed Henry was a "sober" and "honest" man. Henry attested, in Hyde, on 12 December, asking to join the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. This was the beginning of his career as a regular solider which lasted nearly four years.

Henry was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was at their barracks in Wrexham at the time of the 1911 Census. He moved with the Battalion to Dublin on 26 April 1911 and served there until 21 November 1912. During this time Henry qualified in transport duties. The Battalion returned to Portland on 22 November 1912 and, following a medical examination which found him 'fit for foreign service', Henry again sailed from England with his comrades.

This time the 2nd Battalion sailed to India. The soldiers set off, on 19 December 1912, aboard on the Royal Indian Marine troop ship "Dufferin" and disembarked in India on 9 January 1913. From there the Regiment made its way to Quetta, which is now in Pakistan. Henry served in India until 18 February 1914 when he boarded His Majesty"s Troopship "Dongala" and returned to England. After three weeks at sea the Regiment arrived back in Portland.

Henry earned the rank of Lance Corporal; his officer described him as being 'strictly sober, honest, reliable and hardworking'. Nonetheless, Henry"s Service records show that when posted in Dublin he committed a number of minor misdemeanours. These included 'creating a disturbance in his barrack room after lights', being 'dirty on parade at 2pm' and a 'neglect of duty when a sentry'. Each "offence" usually resulted in Henry being confined to barracks for a number of days. Henry committed further "offences" when he returned to England in 1914. He was 'severely reprimanded' on 20 April when he was found drunk in Dorchester at 10:45pm and resisted arrest. On 19 June, again in Dorchester, Henry was found guilty of 'using obscene language, breaking out of camp when in open arrest about 2:30pm until apprehended...about 8:10pm, insolence to his superior officer, inappropriately dressed in town, drunk'. This time Harry was stripped of his Lance Corporal stripe and demoted to Private.

On 5 August 1914, Henry was 'examined for mobilization and found fit'. It appears Henry left for France with his Battalion soon after this assessment. Once in France, the Battalion engaged in heavy fighting around the Flemish village of Zillebeke and sustained numerous casualties.

Henry came to the attention of his Commanding Officer on 17 October 1914 when he was charged with 'inattention in the trenches in the presence of the enemy'. He was issued with a 'field punishment No.2' for fourteen days. The regulations regarding this punishment stipulate that the solider should be put in irons:

'...When in irons he may be attached for a period or periods not exceeding two hours in any one day to a fixed object, but he must not be so attached during more than three out of any four consecutive days, nor during more than twenty-one days in all. ...Straps or ropes may be used for the purpose of these rules in lieu of irons.

...He may be subjected to the like labour, employment, and restraint, and dealt with in like manner as if he were under a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour.'

Nineteen days after receiving this punishment, Henry was 'Killed in Action'. The circumstances of the twenty-two year olds death are not known. He was initially buried in a mass grave with another fifty seven service men, which was marked by a cross and two boards bearing the name of each man. On 20 November 1922, Henry and the other soldiers were exhumed and reburied in individual graves at the Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, in northern France.

HMT Dongola
Official postcard of HMT Dongola in service as a troopship © www.simplonpc.co.uk


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This website honours the WWI casualities of St Alban's Catholic Church, Chester Road, Macclesfield

StAlban's WWII war dead