Whisker, MM, Harry

Harry Whisker, MM

Born Hull 1893. Son of John William Whisker (1851-1925) and Ann Hare Shann (1861-1928), of 21 Prospect Place, Church Street, Hull. He had three brothers and five sisters. A Saw Mill Labourer. Described as 5 foot, 11 inches tall, 147 lbs weight, 35-37 inch chest.  Enlisted Hull, ON 28/09/1914, aged 21. Trained at Dalton, Ripon and Salisbury Camps. Served with the 11th East Yorkshire Regiment, in Egypt and France. Wounded in the thigh and thumb, on 17/08/1917. Re-joined his unit, on 08/02/1918. Killed in action, on 26/03/1918, aged 24. Awarded the Military Medal (MM), for bravery. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. His army effects were left to his mother, Ann.

Background. When the German spring offensive opened on 21 March 1918, 31st Division was in reserve, with 10th and 11th EYR Battalions digging trenches in the ‘Army Line’ behind the front. On 23 March the division was sent up to hold off the German attack at St Léger, but 92 Bde remained in reserve at Ervillers, improvising the defences. Ervillers was attacked on the evening of 24 March, the defence being confused by British troops retreating from the forward defences. Two companies of 10th Bn were pushed up to reinforce 11th Bn fighting in the village streets. About midnight a German patrol got into the village, but was captured by 11th Bn’s HQ staff. The following day the 11th Bn was reinforced by 10th Bn Manchester Regiment of 42nd (East Lancashire) Division and their combined fire stopped the German advance. However, events elsewhere meant that the 31st and 42nd Divisions were ordered on the morning of 27 March to retire through Courcelles-le-Comte.

On 27th March 1917, the brigade defended Ayette aerodrome against repeated attacks from 11.20am to 16.30pm, when with both flanks ‘in the air’, the brigade pulled back to the partly-dug ‘Purple Line’ in front of Ayette village. Between 24 and 27 March, 10th EYR Bn had lost 211 officers and men, and was praised “for its exceptional gallantry on March 27” by the Commander in Chief of the BEF, Sir Douglas Haig. During the night, Lt-Col Headlam of 10th Bn led up a composite battalion of troops from the quartermasters’ details of all three battalions to take over part of the Purple Line, and they helped to recover some 18-pounder ammunition from behind enemy lines, which was fired the following day. Although fighting continued elsewhere along the line, 28 March was a quieter day for 92 Bde, and 11th Bn took over some trenches started by 210th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which they continued to dig. The brigade was relieved on 31 March and marched back to billets near Pommier.

First name:
Military Number:
Lance Corporal
Date Died
Place died:
Arras Memorial, France
Place Buried