Harry Colley


Submitted by Allan Colley

Harry was Allan’s great grandfather

Private 139 Harry Colley 1/4th York and Lancs (Hallamshires)
Born in December 1877 at Walkley, Sheffield
Died at Boesinghe, Ypres on 12/7/15

Harry's Battalion arrived in France in April 1915. They had to wait until June before they were called into action.
On 22 April 1915, German troops advancing westward from Langemark had attacked the French troops in Boesinghe with gas bombs.
This was the first large gas attack in military warfare.

The French held out until relieved by British Troops in late May. For one and a half months (May till beginning of July 1915) it remained
comparatively quiet. Then In the early hours of 6th July 1915, the 1st Rifle Brigade launched an attack on the German positions of the
International Trench, Farm 14 (Moortelweg) and Fortin 17 (150 metres north of the crossroads Moortelweg – Kleine Poezelstraat).

The fighting lasted for four days and is recorded in British regimental history as "a small but successful operation".
During the period 6th – 9th July and the following days the encounter was so violent and the casualties so numerous, that other units were called in for support.

1st Batt. Royal Warwickshire Regiment (10th Brigade)
2nd Batt. Lancashire Fusiliers (12th Brigade)
1st/5th Batt. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
1st/5th Batt. York & Lancaster Regiment

Between the 6th and 11th July 1915, 366 British soldiers lost their lives at Boesinghe. On the 11th July Harry's Battalion, the 1st/4th Y&L, relieved the 1st/5th Y&L due to their severe losses.

He was killed the next day along with three of his comrades.

Harry was buried in Talana Farm Cemetery in Boesinghe and is remembered in Burngreave Cemetery in Sheffield.









© Copyright 2010 - 2021 Dean Hill and Stuart Reeves