Harry Sidney Lapwood moved to Chelmsford in the 1900s from Hatfield Peverel. After working as a labourer he joined the army and went to France. He was killed in action in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme in October 1916.
Harry was born at Hatfield Peverel in 1884, the son of Thomas Lapwood and Jane Ann Lapwood (nee Tingell). He was christened at Hatfield Peverel on 14th September 1884 at which point his father was described as a labourer of Hatfield Peverel. Harry’s father had been born in Witham in 1842; his mother in Langford c1846. Harry’s parents had married on 8th December 1866 at Hatfield Peverel and in both 1871 and 1881 had been living in that parish.
Harry’s siblings (all born in Hatfield Peverel) included Emma Jane Lapwood (born in 1867), Arthur Lapwood (born in 1869), Albert William Lapwood (born in 1872), Sarah Ann Lapwood (born in 1874), Alfred Ernest Lapwood (born in 1877), Hetty Mary Lapwood (born in 1882), Frank Lapwood (born in 1887) and Russell Edwin Lapwood (born in 1889).
The 1891 census recorded six year-old Harry living with his parents and five siblings in a cottage in Langford Road, Hatfield Peverel. Harry’s father was a gardener at the time; his brothers Albert and Alfred were a general labourer and agricultural labourer respectively. At the subsequent census a decade later Harry was aged 16 and employed as a horseman on a farm. He lived with his parents and four siblings in Hatfield Peverel. His father was a domestic gardener and his brother Alfred remained an agricultural labourer.
In 1911 the census listed Harry visiting Thomas and Ellen Beckwith at 1 St. Ann’s Place, Springfield along with his brother Alfred. He was a labourer.
Harry enlisted into the army at Hammersmith and served as Private 5325 in the Cambridgeshire Regiment. He was later posted to the 12th (Service) Battalion (2nd South Downs) of the Royal Sussex Regiment. The battalion, part of the New Armies, was formed in November 1914 at Bexhill, and landed at Le Havre in March 1916. It formed part of the 116th Brigade in the 39th Division.
LAPWOOD, HARRY SIDNEY, Private, 12th (Service) Battalion (2nd South Downs),
Royal Sussex Regiment (formerly of the Cambridgeshire Regiment)
The battalion participated in the Battle of the Somme, arriving at Bois de Warnimont on 25th August 1916. During September 1916 it was in the trenches at Auchonvillers and Redan. On 15th October 1916 the battalion went to Schwaben Redoubt near Thiepval where D Company beat off an enemy counter-attack. Two days later Harry’s battalion was relieved and went to Aveluy.
On 21st October 1916 the battalion went to Wood Post. C Company marched to Schwaben Redoubt and then took part in the successful attack to capture Stuff Trench north of Thiepval. Among those to die in action that day was Harry, serving as Private G/14977. Another Chelmsford man, Frederick Stanley Gosling, died in the same attack while serving in another battalion.
Harry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, near Albert, Somme, France, and on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford.
He was entitled to the Victory and British War medals.
At the time of his death Harry’s sister Emma was resident at 11 Townfield Street in Chelmsford.
Harry’s father had died in 1915, aged 73. His mother died in 1927, aged 81.