Private Harry Berry

Rank or Title

Date of Birth


Date of Death

16 Aug 1915

War time / or Pre War occupation

Newspaper compositor


The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph

Service Number


Place of Birth

United Kingdom

World War I Address

Biscot Road
United Kingdom

Place of Death


Grave Location


War Memorial Location

Soldier or Civilian

  • Soldier


The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph , 4th September 1915
Pte Harry Berry


Pte Harry Berry, 4087, 1/5th Bedfords, was killed in action during a charge by his regiment on August 15th. He was reported missing the following day, but his body was afterwards recovered and he was buried the following Thursday night at the foot of the hill which his battalion captured at high cost.

It appeared he had been killed almost instantaneously by a shrapnel bullet which entered his heart after piercing his service pay book and a pocket diary that were in his breast pocket.

The son of William and Mary Berry, of Biscot Road, he was 21 years old (born early 1894) and had joined the Bedfordshire Territorials just after the outbreak of war.

Pte Berry, who lived in Biscot Road, was one of seven members of staff of The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph to enlist shortly after the outbreak of war, and the first one to be killed in action. He was 21 the previous January and had served his apprenticeship and a further period of two years in the composing department.

"He was not what would be called a fighting spirit," said the Telegraph in a report into his death, "and only a high sense of duty caused him to take up arms and go to the battlefield to help uphold the honour of his country. He now lies in an honourable grave in a strange land, one of many who have given their all for their country."

Another former member of the Luton New staff, Pte Claud Gilder, sent home the sad news to Mr and Mrs Berry. After expressing his sympathies at have to break sad news, he wrote: "I have been inquiring about him since last Monday, when he was report as missing, and yesterday morning (Friday) I received the sad news that he was dead and had been buried the previous night. It was quite a shock to me and I almost broke down when I heard the news.

"I have been closely associated with him for the past two years; 12 months at the Luton News and for a similar period with the 5th Beds, and naturally enough we have been close chums and I feel the loss deeply.

"The last few words to spoke to me were a day or two before we went into action, and they were to the effect that he was quite ready for the Turks, and he was in quite a cheerful mood about the matter.

"The details as to how he met his death are not yet to hand, although from the numerous inquiries I have made he died last Sunday [August 15th], shot through the heart, for through his service pay book and pocket diary a bullet has pierced clean and these were found in the breast pocket of his tunic.

On that day (Sunday) - its was the first day of action - this Battalion made considerable progress, gaining well over 1,000 yards, but at what a terrible cost! With indomitable pluck and grit the Battalion swept on and on, until they eventually succeeded in capturing the two hills we set out for. All ranks showed a magnificent spirit and there was not a quitter amongst the whole Battalion, other than one or two who were affected by the terrific heat."

Before moving to Biscot Road the family lived at first 32 and then 22 Cromwell Road. Mechanical engineer John, his wife Mary and their three older children were born in Kirkheaton, Yorkshire; their two younger children in Luton.


Individual Location

Pte Harry Berry

Author: Deejaya

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