Date of birth: 20th August 1891
Parents: John and Elsie Marston
Address: 21 Linen Street, Warwick
Occupation: Metal Polisher
Harry was born on 20th August 1891. His father was John and his mother Elsie. We know from the Warwick Advertiser report of Harry’s funeral that he had two sisters – Mrs A Payne and Mrs F Swane and two daughters Doris and Nora (known as Vera).
However, we cannot find any census records of Harry’s family, nor can we find any record of Harry marrying and the birth of his daughters. This is very unusual as there are normally quite a lot of records that are reasonably easy to find.
We know from the 1939 Census that Harry was single and living at 21 Linen Street. His landlady was Elsie Cadmore whose husband Albert had died in 1919. Albert had served as a Sergeant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and is also commemorated on the Warwick War Memorial.
Elsie was considered to be his Grandmother by Vera’s son, Pat Rafferty junior, so the relationship between Elsie Cadmore and Harry is assumed to be that of man and wife and Harry and Elsie may have had children together. We know of his daughters that Doris married Frank Webb and Vera married Pat Rafferty and they had a son, Pat Rafferty junior, who wrote an account of Harry’s death that is posted on the BBC website. In this account, Pat junior refers to Harry as his grandfather, and we have heard from Pat junior’s daughter, Lynda and she has always been told that she is descended from Harry – she is his great grand daughter.
We may get more clues when the 1921 Census is published. In the meantime, if anyone can shed any further light on Harry’s, or Pat Rafferty’s family, please do get in touch.
Harry was known locally by the nickname ‘pimp’
Rank & Number: Civilian - Warden, n/a
Regiment/Service: ARP (Air Raid Precautions)
Date of death: 17th May 1941
Cause of death/Battle: Killed at St Mary's Common (Warwick Racecourse) with fellow ARP Warden, James Hiatt - buried by a large fall of earth at the bottom of Linen Street
Commemorated/Buried: Buried in Warwick Cemetery
Commemorated locally at:
Harry had served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment during WWI and had been wounded in the foot. On the night of his death he was walking home over St. Mary’s Common with his friend, James Hiatt, when a German aircraft dropped a stick of bombs. They were both killed instantly and buried under a huge mound of earth. It’s thought the German plane might have been targeting the nearby gas works.
Harry received a military funeral, with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment representatives playing the Last Post.
- Unlocking Warwick Research Group
- Warwick Advertiser excerpt courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office
- Extra information courtesy of Lynda Woodward, Harry’s Great Granddaughter