Ronald Harrison

Ronald Harrison
Born at Filberts Walk, St Ives in 1894, Ronald was the youngest son of four boys and four girls born to John Harrison and Elizabeth (née Green).

Ronald's father was an osier grower and basket maker, starting the business of J Harrison and Sons  in 1877 when aged 26yrs. The business thrived. He employed a workforce to tend and harvest willows on Holt Island, making them into baskets for private and commercial use. He also owned the thirty-one houses in Filberts Walk, renting them to his workers. The family home was at The Willows, Filberts Walk. This was 30 and 31 Filberts Walk, combined into a single house. The business survived right up to 1970, the struggle to compete against cheaper foreign imports finally proving too big a challenge.

In 1911 Ronald was still at St Ives Grammar School, aged 16yrs. This was unusual. Most boys would be working at that age. Sporty by nature, Ronald won the Champion Cup for best all-round athlete at the School. He also rowed with the senior crew at St Ives Rowing Club.

Ronald studied at Borough Road Training College, Isleworth, London. At the outbreak of War he joined the London University Officer Training Corps and was enlisted as a Second-Lieutenant with the 11th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). He was promoted to Lieutenant and attached to 1st/5th Battalion, 52nd Lowland Division, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Third Battle of Gaza
British soldiers at the Third Battle of Gaza
By 1917 Ronald was in the Middle East, part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force fighting Turkish forces. In early November 1917 during the Third Battle of Gaza, Allied Forces successfully smashed their way through enemy defences and pushed the Turks northwards.

It was during one of these fierce engagements that Ronald was killed in action on Saturday 10 November 1917, aged 23yrs. The Hunts Post published news of Ronald's death on 23 November 1917. He is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, Palestine, and commemorated at Broad Leas Cemetery, St Ives as well as on Hemingford Grey War Memorial.

Do you have a photograph of Ronald or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1901 Census
1911 Census
1918 National Probate Register
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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