MAY, Harry

Lance Corporal Harry May
303709 Royal Engineers, I.W.D. (Inland Waterways and Docks Division)
Also 112793 and WR351116 (Waterways and Railways prefix)

Harry was the son of James May, a carter and furniture remover and his wife Mary (nee Ibell) from Buckinghamshire.  His parents lived at 20, Connaught Street, Nottingham and Harry was one of at least 8 children, having brothers and sisters, James B, John T, Emma Lily, Fred, Jesse, Joyce and Edith.  By 1911 Harry’s father was widowed and at home still was Harry’s sister Joyce aged 16, working as a lace hand and younger sister Edith, aged 13 a laundry packer and sorter.

On 8th January 1905 Harry married Emma Lounds, a Hucknall girl, at St. Paul’s Nottingham. In 1911 Harry’s occupation is given as ‘farm labourer’ and he and Emma are also living at the parental home at Connaught Street  with their first four children, Prudence Joyce born 1905 at Westwood, Notts; Harry Ambrose born 1906 at Warsop; and John born 1908 and James born 1910 both in Nottingham. Harry and Edna were still living Nottingham in 1912 as son Percy was born there but children Philip, 1915 and Joseph 1916 were both born at Pye Hill, Jacksdale, Notts. Further children Emma 1917, George 1919, Jesse 1920, Olga 1922 and Thomas 1925 were to follow. Three of the children died as infants, George, Thomas and a further son named Frank born 1913, died 1914.

Harry enlisted twice, the first enlistment was on 1st September 1915, embarking for France on the 13th September. He was discharged on 31st August 1916 and awarded a silver war badge number 162879 as he was no longer physically fit for war service. He had sustained an internal injury caused by the explosion of a land mine.  Surprisingly, he re-enlisted on the 1st September 1917 at Nottingham to serve with the R.E. Inland Waterways & Docks Division, Portbury. He was aged 34 years and gave his occupation as a miner.  He served until 31st Jan 1919 and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory Medals.  The last address noted in army records for Harry is Woodbine Terrace, Alfreton Road, Selston.