First World War Project
Harry FILMER (of Newnham)
b. Q4, 1888
Private, Service Number G/13347
Harry's family came in particular from Lenham and Ashford, with relations remaining nearby. But Harry's parents, William and Emma (née Carrier of Lynsted), set up their marital home at Little Sharsted, Christopher Row (Lynsted) and Lime Cottage (Doddington) and Lenham. Harry was the youngest of 11 children. He had 7 sisters - Harriet, Emma, Louisa, Eliza, Emily, Ada and Alice Mary; and three brothers - George, Frederick and Walter.
Harry is remembered on the Newnham panels of the Newnham and Doddington Memorial. In 1911, his home address with his widowed mother was Bistock, which sits on the downland rising to the north of Doddington Village. The Grave Registration documents confirm his mother was living in Newnham, nr. Sittingbourne, Kent.
Harry's personal effects amounted to £9 17s. 8d. plus the War Gratuity of £12. The Gratuity indicates that Harry enlisted in October 1914. However, his Obituary tells us he may actually have joined earlier, in September. [See Appendix 2]
[Note: One Source [FamilySearch.org] suggests Harry first enlisted into the 1st Battalion, Royal Garrison Regiment in 1914 - that cannot be correct as that unit ceased to exist in 1908.]
We can speculate that Harry may only have received four months training. The urgency of the Army's needs meant this short period was 'normal' in this early phase. So, Harry may have landed in France between January and April 1915. In time for the action at Hooge (Ypres). He may then have served through the Battle of the Somme at the Battles of Flers-Courcelette, Morval, and Le Transloy. In 1917, the 1st Battalion, East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment continued to serve in 6th Division, 16th Infantry Brigade.
Harry's Obituary doesn't help much on dates:
|Faversham and North East Kent News of 26th May 1917|
PRIVATE H. FILMER, THE BUFFS. Private Harry Filmer, of the Buffs, who was killed in action on 3rd May, was the youngest son of Mrs. Filmer, widow, residing in the Street, Newnham. He was a single man, 28 years of age, and left his employment in the gardens at Sharsted to join up in the month following the outbreak of war. His Captain speaks most highly of him in a letter of sympathy to Mrs Filmer. The officer remarks that "he was an excellent soldier, worthy of the Regiment he so nobly served and which mourns his decease." Private Filmer had previously been wounded, in fact he had only been back in the trenches a few weeks when he was killed - Mrs Filmer has another son in France. He went out some time before his late brother, and has been wounded once."
The East Kent News reported on 16th June carried the same information under the title - "NEWNHAM. A GALLANT BUFF.
Harry Filmer was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory Medals. [See Appendix 1]. This may suggest he first served overseas in 1916 rather than 1915?
Creekside Cluster Losses on 3rd May 1917
Thursday 3 May 1917 saw the heaviest casualties for Lynsted when 5 men were lost at the Third Battle of the Scarpe.
The stories of these 5 men follow similar paths. Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver both served in 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon served in both the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught's Own) (Mounted Rifles) and 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Gambrill served in both Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught's Own) (Mounted Rifles) and the Household Battalion, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, alongside Henry Carrier who was lost 8 days later on on 11 May 1917.
Three more men were lost that day from the Creekside Cluster. Harry Filmer, lost from Newnham, served in the 1st (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Henry Laker, lost from Teynham, served alongside Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon serving in 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). George Potts, also lost from Teynham, served alongside Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver, 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).
Six of these eight men fell without a known grave and are recorded in Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial alongside 242 other men from The Buffs who perished that day. They are Amos John Brown, Stanley Monkton Cleaver, MacDonald Dixon, William Henry Laker, George Potts and Reginald Douglas Weaver.