Henry Trusler (known as Harry) was born in Woking, Surrey on 22 July 1896.
His parents were Thomas and Ellen Elizabeth Trusler (née Etherington).
He was the fifth of seven children: Alfred, Ellen, Thomas ‘William’ (died in childhood), Edwin ‘Ted’, Henry ‘Harry’, Thomas and Amy.
His parents came from Sussex; his father was born at Church Farm, Edburton, East Sussex in 1861. They moved around very frequently, and the census shows them at Rottingdean, Sussex in 1871; Checkendon, South Oxfordshire, in 1881; Tunbridge Wells in 1891; Midhurst in 1901; Farnborough in 1911. During this time, Thomas had a variety of occupations: ‘Agricultural Labourer’, ‘Helper in Stable’, ‘Farm Bailiff’, ‘Cowman’ and ‘Dairyman’.
In 1911 Harry, aged 14, was living with his parents and his occupation was listed as ‘Milk Carrier’. He would probably have been working with his dairyman father.
Thomas is known to have gone blind, aged around 50 (c1911), but whether that was the reason he and his wife eventually came to Tadley is not known. At his enlistment Harry gave the address of his next of kin as ‘Hillside Farm’, Tadley.
Both his parents are buried in the churchyard at St Peter’s Church, Tadley.
Harry was unmarried.
Harry enlisted in Southampton on 23 February 1914. He served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI), 63rd Royal Naval Division (service number PO/17183).
The RMLI was formed in 1855 and disbanded in 1923. During World War I, in addition to its usual stations aboard ship, the RMLI was part of the Royal Naval Division which landed in Belgium in 1914 to help defend Antwerp and later took part in the amphibious landing at Gallipoli in 1915. The RMLI also served on the Western Front in the trenches.
At the outbreak of the war Harry was serving on a minesweeping trawler stationed at Ramsgate, Kent. When a battalion of the RMLI was formed for the Gallipoli campaign he went with it and remained there until the evacuation. He then went with the battalion to France as part of the 63rd Division, and it was there that he was awarded the Military Medal and subsequently the Bar to it. He was promoted to acting corporal on 26 October 1917 and to acting sergeant on 25 March 1918.
He was one of three brothers who served with the RMLI: PO/15196 Private Alfred Trusler served between 1908 and 1913, PO/16112 Private Edwin Trusler served between 1911 and 1919.
Harry died of wounds on Monday 30 September 1918, aged 22, in the 38th Casualty Clearing Station, Boisleax au Mont, Pas de Calais.
He was buried at Sunken Road Cemetery [III B 11], Boisleux St Marc, Pas de Calais, near Arras. The inscription on his headstone reads: ‘In the morning and at the going down of the sun we will remember him’.
He is also remembered on Tadley War Memorial.
Harry was awarded the Victory medal, the British War medal and the 1914 Star.
Harry was also awarded the Military Medal and Bar. The first award of the Military Medal, gazetted 6 August 1918, was probably for action at Aveluy Wood, preceding the Battle of Bapaume. The Bar, gazetted 11 February 1919, was awarded posthumously, probably for action at the Hindenburg Line and Canal du Nord, Battle of Cambrai.
His medals were sent to his family and have since been donated to the Royal Marine Museum, Southsea.