Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Serjeant William Alfred Hart and Corporal James Robert Henry M.M. and Bar, 1st Battalion, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, were killed in action in Italy.
One of nine children of an Irish labourer, Serjeant Hart attended St. George’s National School in Llandudno, and later worked as a furniture remover. He had served in the territorial force for four years, then re-enlisted in the 14th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers in November of 1914. The following year he was promoted and posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. In February, 1917, he arrived in France, attached to the Hood Battalion of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. After being posted to the 5th Infantry Base Depot at Rouen, Serjeant Hart then joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, part of the 7th Division.
Very little could be found about Corporal Henry, and it is possible that his service record was lost, as were many in 1940 when a bomb caused a fire in the War Office Record Store in London. He is included on the Every One Remembered website, and a person by the name of Harry left this tribute: “James, O valiant heart, your glory came in Granezza. Your memory hallowed in the land you loved”.
In November of 1917 the 7th Dvision moved to Italy. The Italian army had suffered heavy losses, and so British and French divisions were sent in to stabilise the area. Within two months they were in the line along the River Piave, and it was during the fighting near Vicenza that Serjeant Hart and Corporal Henry lost their lives. They both lie buried in the Granezza British Cemetery, on the Asiago Plateau in the province of Vicenza in the Veneto region of Italy. Serjeant Hart is remembered in the Holy Trinity memorial chapel in Llandudno. On Corporal Henry’s headstone are the words, “Forever in our thoughts”.
William, from Llandudno, was 29 years old and married with three children.
James, from Bethnal Green, was 20 years old.