29 May 2010



Private 18431, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards
Died Tuesday 9th October 1917

Commemorated: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium, Panel 9 and 10

Harry Monnery was born in Sompting on August 8th 1882, the son of William and Mary Monnery, and baptised on September 10th of the same year at St. Mary's Church. His father had been born in Henfield and the family came to Sompting in the 1850s, most of the Monnery men working in market gardens. The family lived first in Sompting Street, then moved to Pullenburry Cottages in Grinstead Lane, Lancing, but in April 1908 Harry married Jessie Saunders and for a short time the couple moved to Ashurst where they ran the Fountain Inn. In 1911 they were back in North Lancing, living at Bay Tree Cottage, and Harry was working as a 'market gardener's salesman.'

As a married man with a business to look after Harry Monnery did not volunteer for military service immediately, but on 10th December 1915 he attested under the Derby Scheme, and it was on 7th June 1916 that he joined the Coldstream Guards at Caterham, and Jessie returned to stay with her family. After a period of training Harry joined the 3rd battalion in Flanders, who were, at that time, deeply involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. On the day he died the battalion were attacking positions in the Houthulst forest, north of Ypres, beyond Poelcapelle. A few lines in the Worthing Gazette of 14th November 1917 report his death:

A GUARDSMAN KILLED - An official report of the death of still another local soldier has been received. This is Harry Monnery, of Bay Tree Cottage. Prior to his enlistment in the Coldstream Guards he was employed as a salesman by Messrs. H. and A. Pullen-Burry, and he was also at one time a licensed victualler at Ashurst.

There is a higher than expected incidence of local men enlisting in the Coldstream Guards, and this could be because of the close proximity of Shoreham Camp where, for many years, a battalion of the regiment were based. As an elite regiment of the British Army they may have been an attractive proposition for men contemplating enlistment. However, when examining the battalion war diaries for this regiment, they are disappointing in content, with a bare minimum of information and often no indication of the number of casualties. Of five Monnery brothers, two died during the Great War; Harry's younger brother William died just a few weeks before and is also commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial. Stephen Monnery, also named on Lancing War Memorial, is not the brother of the same name belonging to this family, but a first cousin.

Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial

1 comment:

Filip Demuinck said...

Well written article, we also visited the Tyne Cot cemetery.