Ex-pupil, John ‘Jack’ Harrison was memorialised on Sunday, with a paving stone at Sutton’s War Memorial, outside of St James’ Church. He attended Craven school, which then moved and was known to be Malet Lambert.
A history teacher from Malet Lambert, Mrs Knight, and the current Head Girl, attended the service, on Sunday 3rd May. Mrs Knight said “I laid two wreaths, one on behalf of the pupils, and one for the staff at Malet.”
The service and memorial marked the 100th anniversary since John Harrison’s heroic actions that saved the lives of many men. Relatives of the brave soldier, travelled from Birmingham to attend. The service was led by Reverend Gloria Naylor, and included many dedications, prayers and hymns, and once the paving stone had been revealed, the National Anthem. The paving stone included John’s full name, his regiment and the date he died.
John Harrison, who was born in East Hull, attended the school, and continued to train at the University of York to be a teacher. During this time, he had a successful career training and playing rugby, for one of Hull’s largest sporting teams, Hull FC. He played 116 games, including the 1914 Challenge Cup Final, which the team won.
In 1915, only months after his only son Jack was born, he enlisted as a cadet with the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. The 11th EYR, which he later joined, were taking a break from the front lines but on the 25th February 1917, he led a patrol into no-man’s land, for which he was awarded the Military Cross.
On the 3rd May 1917, Oppy Wood, a large woodland area held by the Germans, was set for capture, and at the last minute, the raid was brought forward, in hopes of the weather being able to cover the men, including Harrison. This turned out to be the biggest mistake as the weather was clear, which lead to many casualties. His platoon was cornered by heavy attack and gun fire. Harrison silenced a machine gun, which saved many lives but his body was never found. The bravery of John led to the Victoria Cross he was awarded.
It is important to remember John Harrison for his bravery and service to the country. The paving stone serves as an emotional reminder of John, and many other soldiers’ sacrifices for the current and future generations.