Rededication Captain Arthur Lea Harris - Ieper - 14/09/2022
A rededication service for Captain Arthur Lea Harris, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was held at Aeroplane Cemetery, Belgium at 10.30am (local time) on 14th September 2022 at CWGC Aeroplane Cemetery, Belgium. 

Captain Harris died on 31st July 1917 whilst serving with the 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was previously commemorated on the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. 

CWGC has marked his recently identified grave with a Commission headstone, bearing his name and personal inscription chosen by his family, and will care for it in perpetuity. The service has been organised by the British Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and will be attended by his family, Defence Staff, Regimental representatives, CWGC staff and local dignitaries. Members of the public are welcome to attend. 

Captain Arthur Lea Harris was born on 2 May 1886 in Blackburn, Lancashire. He was one of two children born to Reverend Seymour Frederick Harris and his wife Mary Elinor. Arthur attended Marlborough College between 1899 and July 1904, before studying law. In 1909 he qualified as a sollicitor and in 1911 became a partner in the firm Houghton, Myers and Reverley in Preston. Their daughter, Mary Elinor Joyce, was born on 11 April 1913. Arthur was the secretary of the Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club for whom he also played. He is also recorded as having been a keen tennis player, actor and was a prominent figure in the Preston Boy Scouts.

On 26 August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, Arthur was Commissioned into The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He arrived on the Western Front in April 1915 and worked as a Transport Officer before being invalided home due to a knee injury. Having recovered, he returned to the front and was promoted to Captain on 8 June 1917.

On 31 July 1917, the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, Captain Harris was in command of A Company of 1/4th Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The battalion took part in the 55th (West Lancashire) Division attack. 165th Infantry Brigade were to capture the Frezenberg Line before 164th Infantry Brigade, to which 1/4th Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment belonged, advanced. At 10:10 hours 164th Infantry Brigade formed up under a protective barrage. Whilst forming up, enemy snipers were very active, and it is recorded that Captain Harris was hit.

After the war, Captain Harris' remains were recovered and buried in Aeroplane Cemetery as an unknown captain of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. As he was missing, Captain Harris was commemorated on the Menin Gate. However, new research has shown that this in fact his grave. His grave was therefore rededicated on 14/09/2022.

Originally named New Cemetery, Frezenberg, the site of Aeroplane Cemetery was in No Man's Land until 31 July 1917 when the 15th (Scottish) Division, with the 55th (West Lancashire), Division, took nearby Verlorenhoek and Frezenberg. The cemetery was begun the following month but was soon renmaed, from the wreck of an aeroplane which lay near the present position of the Cross of Sacrifice.

Plots II to VIII, and part of Plot I, of Aeroplace Cemetery were formed after the Armistice when casualities, including Captain Harris, were brought in from small burial grounds and the surrounding battlefields. There are now 1,105 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 636 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate eight casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

Reading by Second Lieutenant Hayder Al-Azzawi, 8th Battalion The Rifles

The Last Post played by Lance Corporal Stephen Elliott, 8th Battalion The Rifles

The Reveille

Laying of a wreath by Group Captain John Dickson, Defence Attaché to Belgium and Luxemborug

Laying of a wreath by Dimitry Soenen, alderman of the City of Ieper.

The family of Captain Arthur Lea Harris also laid a wreath.

As well as Philippe De Cock, Military Commander of the Province of West-Flanders (above) and Geert Bekaert, Area Director Commonwealth War Graves Commission (below).

Finally, Patrick Buerms laid a wreath on behalf of the Ypres Branch of the Royal British Legion.

The Union Jack was handed over to the family.

The Collect of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment read by Major Andrew Holsgrove.

The Blessing

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