Reginald Harvey

Mary Norris

Reginald was born in Cuckfield and baptised there on 01/01/1890. He was the fifth child of John Frederick and Alice Harvey, nee Spence. In 1891 the family were living in Hazelgrove Road, Haywards Heath. No occupation is written beside John’s name but the line above credits a 12 yr old boy as a coachman. It is likely that the enumerator wrote John’s occupation on the wrong line as in later life he worked with horses.

The family moved to Lewes between 1899 and 1901. The 1901 census shows John as a beerhouse keeper at 30 Malling Street. This was a short term occupation as by 1905 they had moved to 107 Malling Street. John began working for the corporation and in 1911 they were living at Corporation Villas, North Street with John working as a horse feeder.
Reginald and his elder brother were grooms, another brother was a carter and a younger brother was an errand boy for a harness maker. Corporation Villas were next to the old fire station in North Street and close to the end of Lancaster Street. It is known that Reginald worked for Mr G P Kent of Malling Street prior to enlisting.

Reginald married Maria Esther Smith in Lewes in late 1913. A son Donald R was born on 20/03/1914 and a daughter Lillah R in late 1917.

Badge of the Royal Sussex Regiment
as depicted on a CWGC headstone.

As Reginald’s army papers are no longer available it is not possible to find out exactly when he enlisted, however, other sources do allow us to find out quite a bit about his wartime service. The medal rolls show that his initial entitlement to the War Medal came as he was a member of the 4th Reserve Battalion the Royal Sussex Regiment numbered 4606. This was formed from the 2/4th and 2/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalions on 08/04/1916 and Reginald’s number dates from around this period. Both the 2/4th and 2/5th were territorial battalions. He was later transferred from the reserves to the 12th Battalion, a general service battalion and renumbered G/16129.
The 12th Battalion had suffered huge casualties at the Battle of the Boars Head in June 1916 so a transfer to the 12th would have come in the latter half of the year.

Reginald was wounded on 05/12/1916. The 12th battalion were not involved in any major battle at the time so Reginald’s injury was likely to have been from a sniper. It seems likely that his injury necessitated treatment in the UK since his daughter was born towards the end of 1917.

In January 1917 the 1/1 Sussex Yeomanry was converted to an infantry unit while in the Middle East and renamed the 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion. Its final reorganisation waited for reinforcements from England, which arrived on 28/02/1918. It is known that Reginald was renumbered TF315508 and became part of this battalion, so it would seem likely that following the recovery from his injury he was part of this particular draft.
As part of the 74th Division the 16th Battalion took part in the invasion of Palestine, the 2nd and 3rd Battles of Gaza, and the capture of Jerusalem.

In this last offensive Reginald was wounded for the second time. Although reported in the local paper it does not seem to have been serious.
On 30/04/1918 the Division embarked on HMT Caledonia at Alexandria, landing at Marseilles on 07/05/1918. On landing they were given further training for service on the Western Front, particularly gas training.
They were part of the 2nd Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Épehy.

Reginald was killed on 21/09/1918 in the attack on Quennet Copse. Fighting was intense and the battalion lost most of its men and officers that day. When Reginald’s death was reported in the local paper it also noted that six members of the Harvey family were fighting in France at the time.

Reginald has no known grave and is remembered on the Memorial at Vis-en-Artois on panel 6 in addition to the St John sub Castro Memorial, the Lewes War Memorial and the RSR Roll of Honour in Chichester Cathedral.

He was entitled to the War and Victory medals, which were sent to Maria. She was also awarded a pension for herself and the two children.

This page was added on 02/11/2020.

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