Private Henry Prothero
44865 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
14570 Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)

Henry, or Harry as he was known, was born in 1891 at Ironville, Notts, son of John James Prothero, a colliery labourer and his wife Elizabeth (nee Smith) of Ironville. In the very early 1900’s the family moved to New Westwood and by 1911 was living at Back Lane (Barrows Hill Lane), Westwood. Harry, then aged 20, was employed as a coal hewer, above ground and his father and all of his brothers of working age were also employed at the colliery. Harry came from a large family having brothers and sisters John Thomas, William, Samuel, George Arthur, Gertrude Irene, John James, Marion, Archie and Isobel.

Photo: Westwood miners from Back Lane, several are members of the Prothero family.

Prothero Miners WW400
Harry enlisted on 2nd September 1914 and saw service in France, arriving there on 14th July 1915.  He was discharged from the army on 16th October 1917 as no longer physically fit for war service. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory Medals and also Silver War Badge number 434525. His family says he was severely wounded, blinded in one eye and wounded by shrapnel. He suffered for the rest of his life due to splinters of shrapnel working their way out of his body. He was deeply traumatised by his experiences and never spoke about them. His younger brother William Prothero was killed in action in 1918 and is also listed on the Jacksdale War Memorial. Harry never forgot his comrades and made flower boxes full of flowers to stand at the foot of the War Memorial. He and Ethel carried water down from their home in Dixie Street to keep them fresh.

In 1920 Harry married Ethel Heath and they had three children, Roy, Alan and Joyce, all baptised at Westwood, St. Mary’s, father’s occupation given as ‘fan engine man.’