Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edmund Harrison

Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edmund Harrison

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Thomas Edmund Harrison Birth Index © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Edmund Harrison Birth Index © Ancestry.co.uk

Thomas Edmund Harrison was born on the 16th of April 1879 at Sheppey in Kent.

His parents were Royal Navy Commander Matthew James Harrison and Lucy Caroline Harrison nee Wedgwood.

Thomas Edmund Harrison had four siblings. Geoffrey Richard Harrison who was born on the 15th of February 1876 at Ipswich in Suffolk and died young on the 7th of December 1882 in Kent. Geoffrey is burried at Leith Hill. Annie Dorothea Gooch nee Harrison was born in the 3rd quarter of 1877 in Lewisham and died after an operation on the 2nd of September 1950 in British Columbia. She was the widow of Major John Gooch R. A. George Basil Harrison was born on the 26th of October 1882 at Sheppey in Kent and Lucy Ursula Harrison was born in the 3rd quarter of 1884 at Horsham in Sussex.

 

Thomas Harrison 1881 Census © findmypast.co.uk
Thomas Harrison 1881 Census © findmypast.co.uk

During the 1881 Census, Matthew James Harrison, Lieutenant of the Royal Navy and Inspecting Officer of the Coastguard, his wife Lucy Caroline and their children Geoffrey Richard, Annie Dorothea and Thomas Edmund were living at Cheyney Rock Road, Minster in Sheppey, Sheppey, Kent. The family employed a footman, a cook, a nurse and a housemaid.

Thomas Harrison 1891 Census © findmypast.co.uk
Thomas Harrison 1891 Census © findmypast.co.uk

At the time of the 1891 Census, Matthew James, now retired Commander of the Royal Navy, his wife Lucy Caroline and their children Annie Dorothea, Thomas Edmund, George Basil and Lucy Ursula lived at Shiprods, Toat Hill, Itchingfield, Horsham, Sussex. The family employed a butler, a cook, a housemaid, a childrens maid and a kitchen maid.

Thomas Edmund Harrison enrolled into the Royal Navy on the 15th of July 1892.

In the 2nd quarter of 1907 Thomas Edmund married Maud Winifred Harrison nee Godman at Horsham, Sussex.

Thomas´ wife Maud Winifred Harrison nee Godman was born in the 1st quarter of 1882 in Horsham, Sussex and was baptised on the 8th of January 1882 in Itchingfield, Sussex. Her parents were Percy Sanden Godman a magistrate in Sussex (born about 1837 at Hascombe, Surrey) and Isabel Frederica Godman (born about 1843 at Dorset, Weymouth).

Thomas Edmund and Maud Winifred had three children.

Geoffrey Wedgwood Harrison, was born on the 18th of July 1908 at Portsmouth in Hampshire. Isabel Mary Mathews nee Harrison was born in the 20th of April 1911 at Portsmouth in Hampshire. Sophie Maud Axford nee Harrison was born on the 1st of July 1914 at Catherington, West Hampshire.

Thomas Harrison 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

At the time of the 1911 Census, while Thomas was serving in the Navy, Maud was living with her son Geoffrey Wedgwood and a housemaid and a cook at Red Lodge, Craneswater Park, Southsea, Hants. She was living on a private means and the house had 12 rooms. Thomas was listed on HMS Irresistible as a Lieutenant executive.

Thomas Edmund, now Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Navy, spent the second month of WW1 on HMS Aboukir. On the 22nd of September 1914 old armoured cruisers Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy were on patrol roughly 40 miles west of Den Helder in the North Sea, providing a shield for the transport of men and material to the British Expeditionary Force on the fledgling Western Front. In addition to being old and slow all three ships were heavily crewed by reservists and trainees. They were nicknamed accordingly ‘the live bait squadron’.

HMS Aboukir © Maritime Quest
HMS Aboukir © Maritime Quest

HMS Aboukir Image © Michael W. Pocock, Maritime Quest

At about 6.25 am Aboukir was torpedoed by Otto Weddigen in the German submarine U9. Hogue and Cressy moved in to pick up survivors, convinced the Aboukir had struck a mine. Instead, the German U-boat torpedoed the remaining cruisers as well. The ships were easy targets as they were not able to maintain 12-13 knots and zigzag for their protection.The whole action lasted only 90 minutes, but cost the lives of 62 officers and 1,397 men. Only 837 sailors were rescued. This event was the first major naval tragedy of the Great War.

Thomas Harrison Memorial Registration © CWGC
Thomas Harrison Memorial Registration © CWGC

Thomas Edmund Harrison is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent on the panel 1. The memorial commemorates those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.

Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edmund Harrison received the British and Victory medals and the 1914 Star. The medals were issued to his widow Maud Winifred Harrison of Wey Lodge Liphook Hants.

Thomas Harrison Probate Calendar © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison Probate Calendar © Ancestry.co.uk

Thomas also left his wife Maud £ 7583, 15s and 1d. At the time of his death Thomas lived at Hampsteel Cowfold, Horsham in Sussex.

Thomas Harrison Monumental Inscription Detail © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison Monumental Inscription Detail © Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison Monument Inscription © ancestry.co.uk
Thomas Harrison Monument Inscription © ancestry.co.uk

Maud died on the 25th of April 1962 in Sussex. At the time she lived at Timbers Plummers Plain, in Horsham, Sussex and left her daughters £ 31,532, 15s and 9d.

 

Lived                           Leith Hill, Dorking

Son of                          Commander Matthew and Lucy (nee Wedgwood) Harrison of Leith Hill Place, Dorking
Husband of                   Maud Winnifred Harrison of Wey Lodge, Liphook, Hants
Brother of                     Lieutenant Commander George Basil Harrison
Cousin of                      Ralph Vaughan Williams

Regiment                     H.M.S Aboukir, Royal Navy

Date of Death              22nd September 1914
Place of Death             North Sea
Cause of Death            Killed when HMS Aboukir torpedoed off the Dutch coast

Age                             34

Memorial                     Chatham Naval Memorial