Lance Sergeant Harry PLANT


Regiment/Service:
Canadian Infantry
(Manitoba Regiment)
Unit:
8th Battalion
Service Number:
552326
Date of Death:
15 August 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
23
Cemetery / Memorial:



Personal History:

Harry was born on 3rd May 1894 the son of Mrs. Rose Ellen
Plant, of 14 Jubilee Cottages, Clough Street, Buxton,. He had
two older brothers, James and John, a younger brother, Daniel,
and a younger sister, Elizabeth. (1901 Census RG 13/3269)
The youngest child was born in 1900, so it seems Rose had
just been widowed at that time.

In 1911 (Census RG14/21241) 16 year old Harry was employed as a "Baker's Assistant", working for 'Mr Jones of Spring Gardens, Buxton, where he had the nickname "Mo"'. 'The Buxton Advertiser' reported that Harry was a keen footballer, playing for Buxton Wednesday and also for Wirksworth. Two of his brother's also enlisted, one in the Army and one in the Navy.

In May 1913 Harry sailed from Liverpool on board the 'Lake Manitoba', landing at Montreal, Canada, on the 28th.

At the time of his enlistment in 1915 Harry was 5' 5" (1.67 m) tall, had a 'Fair' complexion, brown eyes and auburn hair.


Military History:

Harry enlisted into the Canadian Army in Alberta on 8th February 1915, giving his occupation as "Cook". He was declared "Fit subject to being seen by a dentist". He gave his age as 21 years 9 months - although seems to have added a year. He stated that he previously been in the 'Derbyshire Yeomanry' for three years.

In August 1917 Harry's Battalion were part of the 4th Division, 10th Brigade at Battle of Hill 70 (15th - 25th August 1917). On the evening of 14th August the attack commenced with the bombardment of the hill by the Canadian artillery, damaging the trenches and blowing holes in the defensive wire. At 4:25 a.m., dawn of the15th, the Canadians went over the top, with Harry's Battalion on the right, largely as a diversionary attack.

In total, the Germans counterattacked 21 times, the last at dawn on August 18th. The Canadians repulsed them all. The attack on Hill 70 resulted in 1,505 men killed, 3,810 wounded, 487 wounded by gas and 41 prisoners to the Germans. The bulk of the casualties were on the first day of the attack. In some cases companies reached, and held their objectives while sustaining over 70% causalities. The Germans had committed 5 divisions in an attempt to hold Hill 70, with approximately 20,000 causalities, 970 Germans taken prisoner. Harry's Burial Register states he was killed in an "Attack on Hill 70, Loos".

120 other Officers and men of Harry's 8th Battalion were killed in action on the 15th August. Harry and 92 of these men have no known grave and are commemorated with him on the Vimy Memorial.

The Canadian troops earned five Victoria Crosses during the 4 day period of the battle.


                                                                                                    

Footnote:
· Another Buxton man in the Canadian Infantry - Pt. Harry BLACKWELL - was killed in action on the same day

Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 1 September 1917
· The Canadian Great War Project
· CEF Burial Registers, 649-P-8224
· Canadian Passenger Lists, Roll: T-4797

Link to CWGC Record
The Vimy Memorial
Sgt. Plant's name on the Vimy Memorial
Sgt. Harry Plant
poppy
.. about the Battle for Hill 70
.. the operational orders for the attack