Born in 1881 in Portswood, a tithing of the parish of South Stoneham (now part of Southampton), Walter Sidney Harris was the eldest of 3 children for his father Walter Sidney and mother Frances.
In the 1890’s the family were living in Shirburn, near Thame, and Walter was a pupil at Lord Williams Grammar School.
After leaving school he was employed as a clerk for the Post Office in London, and it was here that he became friends with Edmund Charles Le Messurier.
At the start of the Great War, Walter was one of the early volunteers, signing up with the 12th (Rangers) Battalion, London Regiment in August 1914. The battalion embarked for France in December 1914, landing at Le Havre, and saw action with the 84th Brigade at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in April/May 1915 and on the Somme in 1916, including the catastrophic 1st July.
In early 1917 Walter transferred to the 1/15th (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles) battalion of the London Regiment, and on 30th November 1917 he was killed during the German counter attack at the Battle of Cambrai. His accrued army pay and war gratuity totalling £21 4s 9d was given to Winifred Le Messurier, the wife of his friend Edmund.
Walter Sidney Harris has no known grave and is one of over 7000 names commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. In Thame he is remembered on the Lord Williams’s school memorial board.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Cambrai Memorial, Louveral, Nord, France on 31st October 2015 by Joan Simpson