Harvey West was born on 23 May 1887 at Tadley and baptised at the Old Meeting, United Reformed Church, Tadley, on 10 July 1887.
His parents were Harvey and Euphemia Margaret West (née Savage). Harvey was a ‘General Labourer’.
Harvey junior was the second of four children: Elsie, Harvey, Leonard and Sarah. Sadly, Elsie died just four days after Harvey was born.
In the 1891 Tadley Census Harvey was aged 3 and his father was the licensed victualler of the ‘Fox and Hounds’, Mulfords Hill. The family was beset with tragedy. Following the birth of his sister, Sarah, his mother, aged 33, died in March 1896, just nine days before her newborn daughter. Three months later Harvey’s father, aged 34, also died. They were all buried at the Old Meeting, Tadley. The two surviving boys, Harvey and Leonard now required new homes. We have no record of their whereabouts in the intervening five years between 1896 and 1901.
In the 1901 Census Harvey, aged only 13 years, is in employment in Hartley Wespall near Stratfield Turgis. He is recorded as being a ‘Cow Boy’. Leonard, aged 12, is living in Tadley with his paternal grandparents, Thomas and Sarah West (parents of Israel West, no. 31).
Harvey returned to Tadley and married Mary Monger on 3 August 1908. They had four children: Violet May, Elizabeth Sarah ‘Sally’, Margaret Rose and William George. His occupation was that of ‘Broom Maker’.
Harvey was the nephew of Israel West who also died in World War I and is remembered on the Tadley War Memorial.
Harvey enlisted in Basingstoke on or before the 16 August 1914 and served as a driver (service number 28315) and later a gunner in C Battery, 63rd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.
The 63rd Brigade was formed as part of Kitchener’s First (K1) Army. It was under the command of the 12th (Eastern) Division with whom it remained throughout the war.
After initial training in the United Kingdom, the division proceeded to France between 29 May – 1 June 1915, landing at Boulogne and remaining on the Western Front for the duration of the war.
The 12th (Eastern) Division was heavily involved in the Hundred Days Offensive (8 August – 11 November 1918), the final period of the war during which the Allies launched a series of offensives against the Central Powers on the Western Front, beginning with the Battle of Amiens (8-12 August 1918).
At the time of Harvey’s death, the brigade was in action in the Battle of Albert
(21-23 August 1918) and its continuation, the Second Battle of Bapaume (21 August – 3 September 1918). On 22 August, the division advanced across the wilderness of the old Somme battlefield, capturing Meaulte, Mametz, Carnoy, Hardecourt and Faviere Wood. The brigade was relieved on 30 August by 47th (London) Division and moved back to the Carnoy-Briqueterie area.
Harvey died of wounds on the Western Front on Sunday 1 September 1918, aged 31.
He is buried in Peronne Road Cemetery [IV C 13], Maricourt, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Concentration of Graves report gives details of the exhumation and move of Harvey’s body from its original burial place to Peronne Road Cemetery.
He is also remembered on Tadley War Memorial.
Harvey was awarded the Victory medal, the British medal and 1914 Star. These would have been sent to his wife.