Harry Garbett was born at Oldswinford, lived in Mamble Road and attended Enville Street Council School. He had been a regular soldier in the Worcesters and served in the Boer War. By 1914 he was married with three children and was employed at the ironworks of John Bradley and Co. He was called up as a reservist and joined the 3rd Battalion in the BEF at Aldershot. They advanced into Belgium in August, endured the long retreat from Mons and then helped to halt the German advance in the battle of the Marne. In October they were transferred to the Ypres sector to meet further German attacks and in March they were at Spanbroek Mill at the end of the Messines Ridge. On the 12th March a strong diversionary attack was put in to aid the major British attack at Neuve Chapelle. They were held up because of dense mist, and in the waiting period German shelling of the British trenches caused many casualties. At 4.10 am from waterlogged trenches A and C companies moved slowly up towards the ridge. Some troops managed to reach a few gaps in the German wire and to enter the enemy trenches. Although the German counter-attacks were held, the British artillery started shelling the German trenches again without realising where the British troops were located. The survivors, including wounded, had to make their own way back to the British lines after nightfall. The losses amounted to 9 officers and 38 men killed, 32 missing, mainly killed, and 99 wounded, a heavy price to pay for a diversionary attack. A report in the County Express on the 27th March states that Private Harry Garbett was shot in the head while bandaging a wounded comrade and that he died a 'hero'. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Stourbridge, St. Thomas's church and former Enville Street School Memorials.
Stourbridge Enville St. School
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