Sergeant Henry “Harry” Norman Verrells

Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research.

Harry was born on 28th June 1894 and baptised at the parish church of Reigate on the 15th August 1894. His father is Herbert William Verrells: a Tax Collector, his mother is Margaret.

In the 1901 census Harry’s family are living in Effingham Road in Reigate. Harry has three sisters, Ethel aged 14, Lilian aged 13 and Florence aged 9, and one brother, Herbert Stuart who is 5 months old.

Harry attended Reigate National School, then Dorking High School, where he gained a certificate in Pitman’s Elementary Shorthand. He also passed the London University Matriculation exam and gained a distinction in English. He then attended Clark’s Civil Service College. He was a keen footballer and played half back for Reigate Priory Football Club. He was also a chorister at Reigate parish church. He had an exceptional voice which developed into a Baritone.

In the 1911 census his family are living at “Darenth” Eversfield Road in Reigate. Harry and Herbert are at school, Lilian is a Dress Maker. Ethel is living in Bexhill-on-Sea, and Florence is in Portslade.

Harry volunteered for service on 14th April 1915 at Armoury House, the home of the Honourable Artillery Company. His occupation at the time was a Civil Servant with the Board of Trade. He arrived in France later that year. In September of that year he was hospitalised with influenza and then Paratyphoid. Then he was wounded by a shell and came back to England to convalesce for a few months, before returning to France again. In June 1917 he received a Gun Shot wound to the right arm then he returned to England and was treated at Shirley Warren hospital in Southampton where he also developed Trench Fever. He then transferred to the 2nd Battalion and was sent to Italy. Whilst engaged in the battle of Vittorio Vento, Harry received a Gun Shot Wound to the head on 3rd February and was taken to the No 29 Stationary Hospital where he died on 12th February 1918. He is buried at Cremona Town Cemetery, Lombardia, Italy, Plot 1 Grave Reference A3. His parents requested that ”Hero Victorious, At the Victors Side” be carved onto his headstone.

Harry is also remembered on five local memorials, The Reigate War Memorial in the Town Hall, Dorking High School memorial, St Mary’s Church Choir Memorial, Reigate Lads Church Brigade Memorial and Reigate Priory Football Club Memorial.

Harry’s sisters Ethel and Lilian did not marry and lived near Reigate for many years. His sister Florence married Thomas John Richards in 1925. Herbert Stuart Married Marie L Hawkes in 1934 and was later ordained as the Reverend Herbert Stuart Verrells in Waveney, Suffolk.

Son of                    Herbert William and Margaret Jane Verrells of ‘Darenth’ Eversfield Road, Reigate, Surrey

School                    Dorking High School (Ashcombe)

Regiment                 1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company
Number                    3365

Date of Death           12th February 1918
Place of Death          Vittorio Veneto, Italy
Cause of Death         Died of wounds

Age                           23

Cemetery                 Cremona Town Cemetery, Lombardia, Italy.

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