Private 44194, 12th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Died 8th November 1917 aged 26

Buried Oxford Road Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Son of Robert and Ada A Dye

Lived 18, Kaye Street, Heckmondwike

Harry was from Lower Wortley in Leeds, his father Robert worked in a forge and Harry was the second of four sons - he had one sister.  Before joining the army he had worked at Yorkshire Tramways Company at Frost Hill, lodging with Walter Firth who lived in Kaye Street.

He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers but was later transferred to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; he had been in the army for over 18 months when he was killed.  All of his brothers served in the forces, his two younger brothers Frederick (Fred) and Osborne were killed in 1915.  His older brother William survived.  Harry died of wounds in a field ambulance in Belgium.

The 12th were a Pioneer Battalion which was originally made up of miners from the South Yorkshire coalfield.  From 1st July to the 30th November 1917 they were attached to the Fifth Army to work on the light railway.  The true nature and functions of a Pioneer Battalion were never fully understood during the war either by military or laymen.  Little is known, or understood, of the contribution made by the many thousands of men who served with the original Pioneer Battalions.  Building and repairing roads, bridges, railway lines, gun emplacements and laying barbed wire to protect the Front Line, were just some of the tasks that they carried out.

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