”It was during the advance at Sheik Said a shrapnel shell came along and killed the Adjutant, wounded the Colonel, killed Corpl. Luckhurst, and also killed a private.”
So said a comrade of Corporal Harry Luckhurst, T/1638 5th Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) my 1st cousin 2x removed who was killed in action on 7 Jan 1916. Harry, who was born 7 Nov 1892 was only 23 years old. His unit had landed at Basra in Dec 1915 and joined the 35th Indian Brigade of the 7th Indian Division.
War diary of the 1/5 Buffs for 7 Jan 1916
An entry in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918 states:
Luckhurst, Harry, Corpl., No. 1638, 5th (Territorial) Battn. The Buffs (East Kent Regt.), s. of Harry Luckhurst, of 168, Beaver Road, South Ashford, co. Kent, by his wife, Sarah, dau. of William Young; b. Ashford, 7 Nov. 1892; deuce. Ashford Council School; enlisted 3 Sept. 1914; served with Indian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia as Signaller, and was killed in action at Kut-el-Amara 7 Jan. 1916. Buried there. A comrade wrote:”It was during the advance at Sheik Said a shrapnel shell came along and killed the Adjutant, wounded the Colonel, killed Corpl. Luckhurst, and also killed a private; unm.
And includes this dark photograph of Harry.
His mother Sarah – my great-grand-aunt – had died in 1906 and did not suffer the loss of her son, but his father and six siblings would always have that memory. In 1911 Harry was a bricklayer like his father – also Harry – and was living at home. Today people are likely walking by bricks that Harry laid, not knowing that the person who did the work lays far away from home; remembered on the Amarah Panels, No. 8, in Amara War Cemetery in Iraq.