Thank you to Jane Anthony and Lenka Cathersides for this research and thank you to Gail Ilman (Alma Harris’ Great Granddaughter) for the family photographs and additional family detail.
The date of Alma’s birth is not totally clear as has two different dates according to the records. The 1888 National School Admission Register states that Alma Hubert John Harris was born on the 12th of March 1882 in Abinger, Surrey to labourer David Harris and Ellen Harris nee Ansell. According to the England & Wales Births Transcription Alma Hubert John Harris was born in the 2nd quarter of 1881 near Dorking, Surrey.
The 1884 National School Admission Register reads that the family lived at Ockham Mill, Surrey.
On the 13th of November 1888, Alma was admitted into the St Martin’s Church of England School for Boys in Dorking, he had previously attended Pixham School. At the time of his admission the family lived in Leslie Road, Dorking. Alma left St Martin’s school on the 22nd of June 1894.
At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at 28 Leslie Road in Dorking. David was working as a nursery labourer and Ellen was at home looking after their children. The household further comprised of Ellen’s son, horse driver Amos and David’s sons, bricklayer’s labourer James and lime worker David.
The 1896 National School Admission Register reads that the family lived in North Street, Redhill, Surrey. The family left Redhill on the 12th of February 1897.
At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Medina Terrace, Whyteleafe, Surrey. David was now working as a general labourer and Ellen was at home. Most of the children had now left home, but bricklayers Frank and Alma were still living there, along with Mayblossom.
Alma married Annie Elizabeth Porter, by Banns, on the 25th of December 1903 at St John’s church in Coulsdon, Surrey. At the time of their marriage Alma lived at 2 Warwick Cottages, Roke Avenue, Kenley, Surrey and was working as a carman (a delivery man using a horse drawn vehicle). Annie lived at Clive Cottages, Roke Avenue, Kenley, Surrey.
Annie was born on the 9th of November 1885 in Kenley, Surrey to carman George Porter, born about 1857 in Petersfield, Hampshire and Harriett Porter, born about 1854 in Godalming, Surrey. Annie was baptised on the 3rd of January 1886 at All Saint’s church in Kenley, Surrey. At the time of the baptism the family lived in Kenley and George was working as a carter.
Alma and Annie had six children.
George William Henry was born on the 17th of June 1904 in Kenley, Surrey. He was baptised on the 24th of July 1904 at All Saint’s church, Kenley. The family were living at 100 Lower Road, Kenley, Alma was still working as a carman.
Nellie May was born on the 30th of November 1905 in Croydon. She was baptised on the 20th of December 1905 at St Augustine’s church in South Croydon. The family had moved to 26 Purley Road, Croydon.
Annie “Nancy” Alma Harris was born either on the 2nd of February 1908 in Kenley. She was baptised on the 8th of March 1908 at St John’s church in Coulsdon. The family had moved back to Lower Road in Kenley.
Frederick Hubert John Harris was born on the 30th of April 1910 in Croydon. He was baptised on the 24th of July 1910 at St Augustine’s church. The family had moved back to Purley Road, this time to No. 7. Frederick died in 1986.
Lily Rose Harris was born on the 4th of June 1911 in Croydon. She was baptised on the 10th of September 1911 at St John’s church. The family had moved again to Clive Cottages, Roke Avenue, Kenley.
Harry Arthur Harris was born on the 27th of September 1913 in Croydon. He died in 1972 in Croydon. Harry was nicknamed Boxer after the horse. Gail Ilman explained “when he was a baby everyone said he had eyes like Boxer.”
At the time of the 1911 census they were living in Union Street Croydon, with his wife and four young children, George, Nell, Anne (Nancy) and Fred. Alma was working as a carman for a builder. The family grew to include Lil and Harry. The house had four rooms.
Alma enlisted in Croydon, Surrey into the 2nd Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was a Private and his regimental number was G/3974. He disembarked on the 27th of April 1915 in France.
Gail tells us that Alma took his heavy horse Boxer with him when he left for France.
Alma Harris was killed in action on the 16th of May 1915 during The Battle of Festubert, France. His body was never found. Gail Ilman thinks that Boxer died alongside Alma.
The Battle of Festubert was a second phase of the recently failed attack on Aubers Ridge. It started with a night attack just before midnight on the 15th of May 1915. Over next 10 days the British Army made some small advances. More than 16,000 casualties were sustained in the attack.
Alma is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France on panels 4 and 5.
He received the British War and Victory medals and the 1915 Star.
Alma’s wife Annie Harris received £1, 11s and 3d on the 9th of November 1915 and a further £3 on the 17th of July 1919 in Soldier’s Effects.
Alma Hubert John’s parents later lived at 40 Little Roke, Kenley, Surrey. His father John died in 1922 and his mother Ellen died in 1924, both in Croydon.
Alma’s wife Annie remarried Henry Quartermain in 1920 in the Registration District of Croydon.
The couple had a daughter Dorcas born in 1922 in Croydon.
The 1931 Surrey, England, Electoral Register reads that Henry and Annie Elizabeth Quartermain lived at 61, The Village, Stoats Nest, Coulsdon, Surrey.
Annie Elizabeth Quartermain died in 1966.
Alma Harris’ window Annie remarried after his death, becoming Annie Quartermaine.
This photo was taken at Betty Quartermaine’s wedding. The family (from bride’s left shoulder) is Annie Quartermaine, Fred (not in uniform), then Boxer, then George. Gail Ilman’s mother Elizabeth is standing in front of Fred.
Gail Ilman’s Christening in 1954 with from left to right, Elizabeth May (born 1934), Nan Anne- Alma and Great Nan Annie Elizabeth.
Harris Family History
Alma’s father David Harris was born about 1836 in Shere, Surrey to agricultural labourer William Harris, born about 1804 in Shere, Surrey and Mary Harris, born about 1809 in Pulborough, Sussex. David was baptised on the 12th of June 1836 at St James’ church, Shere. At the time of the baptism, the family lived in Shere and William was working as a labourer.
David married Jane Marshall on the 20th of January 1862 in Shere. Jane was born about 1840 in Ash, Surrey.
David and Jane had four children: Margaret J. born about 1864 in Shere, Surrey; James born about 1867; Rosina E. born about 1869 and David W. born about 1872 in Wotton, Surrey.
At the time of the 1871 Census, the family lived at King George’s Hill & The Camp, Wotton. David was working as a labourer and Jane was looking after their children: Margaret, James and Rosina.
Jane Harris died in the 1st quarter of 1872 in the Registration District of Dorking, Surrey.
The widowed David Harris married Ellen Ansell in the 1st quarter of 1874 in the Registration District of Dorking, Surrey.
Alma’s mother Ellen Ansell was born about 1849 in Ewhurst, Surrey to labourer David Ansell, born about 1797 in Ewhurst, Surrey and Mary Anne Ansell, born about 1812 in Chelsea, Middlesex. Ellen was baptised on the 18th of August 1849 at St Peter & St Paul’s church, Ewhurst. At the time of the baptism the family lived Ewhurst and David was working as a bricklayer and labourer.
Ellen Harris (nee Ansell) had a son prior to her marriage to David. According to the England & Wales Births Transcription, Amos Harry H. Ansell was born in the 4th quarter of 1873 in the Registration District of Dorking, Surrey. Amos was baptised on the 5th of April 1874 at St John the Evangelist’s church in Wotton. David Harris is stated as Amos’ father. At the time of the baptism the family lived in Wotton.
Amos Harry Harris married Lily Grantham on the 16th of April 1900. On Amos’ marriage certificate is his father stated to be David Harris.
Alma Hubert John Harris had four known blood siblings: Frank Christopher Oakes; Lily Jane; Annie Violet and Mayblossom Harris.
Frank Christopher Oakes Harris was born on the 2nd of June 1876 in Wotton, Surrey. He was baptised on the 30th of July 1876 at St John the Evangelist’s church in Wotton, where the family were living.
Lily Jane Harris was born on the 24th of November 1878 in Wotton, Surrey. She was baptised on the 9th of February 1879 at St James’ Church in Abinger, Surrey.
Annie Violet Harris was born on the 25th of June 1883 in Albury, Surrey. She was baptised on the 3rd of December 1883 at St Martin’s Church, Dorking, Surrey. The family had, by this time moved to Dorking and were living at Mole Side. David was still working as a labourer.
Mayblossom Harris was born either on the 14th or 23rd of September 1889 in Dorking, Surrey. She was baptised on the 16th of April 1890 at St Martin’s church in Dorking. The family were still living in Dorking, but had moved to 8 Leslie Road.
At the time of the 1881 Census, the family lived at Golding’s Cottages, Abinger, Surrey. David was working as a road labourer and Ellen was at home looking after their children. The household further comprised of Ellen’s son Amos and David’s children from his previous marriage: domestic servant Margaret, road labourer James, Rosina and David.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Alma’s father, pensioner, David Harris lived at 1 Lavinia Cottage, Little Roke, Kenley. The household further comprised of David’s wife Ellen and their daughter Lily. Ellen stated that she had given birth to six children. The accommodation had 3 rooms.
The 1911, 1913 and 1914 National School Admission Registers read that Alma’s parents and siblings lived at 44 Surrey Street in Croydon.
Born Wotton, Dorking, Surrey
Lived Croydon, Surrey
Son of David and Ellen Harris of 40, Little Roke, Kenley, Surrey
Husband of Annie Quartermaine (formerly Harris) of 61, The Village, Stoats Nest, Coulsdon, Surrey
Enlisted Croydon, Surrey
Regiment 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Date of Death 16th May 1915
Place of Death Festubert, France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Memorial Le Touret Memorial, France