World War I
Harry Collard

In Buttsbury Church there is a war memorial which was created by a local man, Mr Woodward. What makes it unique to the area is firstly it is made of wood and superbly hand carved, and secondly it is made up of three panels, which show those who went to war and those who didn’t return.
On a recent trip to the National Archives in Kew I found records of one of those who did return, Harry Collard. The records are not in great shape, having suffered from damage over the years. According to the memorial five Collards went to war and they all returned, Oldest was Thomas (34 in 1914), Frank 26, George 23, Leonard 21, and Harry 17. The 1901 Census shows that their father John had four brothers, all of whom lived near by were all connected to agriculture
Harry joined the Territorial force in November 1915, and went into the 5th Battalion Essex Regt. 4092, as a Private. In June 1916 after training where he emerged as a Bomber he was on the Royal George sailing from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt. The trip took 15 days to make, and four days after arrival he joined the Battalion at Shallufa. The Suez canal, Palestine and surrounding areas was considered to be highly important in the global concept of the war, consequently this theatre was second only to the Western Front. Shallufa lay about 20 miles to the north of Suez and was one of a number of locations all along the canal that were militarised.
The main opposition came from the Turks, who regularly attacked the canal. 1916 saw a build up of the troops, construction of an infrastructure to move men and weapons about efficiently. A year later, after Harry had been present 16 months the commander, Allenby had enough troops to mount an offensive against the Turks and the battles of Gaza took place after which Jerusalem was captured.
In May 1918, Harry was confined to barracks for 7 days for disobeying an order, this was surprise as the charge sheet shows his character as excellent. In July 1918, Harry suffered from Pyrexia, Phlebotomus or sandfly fever, and it wasn’t until October that he was able to rejoin his battalion. Harry’s war wasn’t spectacular, it was hot, boring, with spates of intense fighting, which for most soldiers was the reality of war.
When the war was over Harry couldn't just pack up and leave, it was a further three months before he embarked for the demob camp at Kantara and made his way home. Army Form 3226 showed that he was a very reliable, intelligent and sober person, and Harry was to use this to show that he had been in the war and also that he was a good person to employ. Finally, Harry was given a Protection certificate that showed that he had been a soldier yet wasn't staying with the colours. It was to make sure that he could show that he had been in Egypt and completed nearly three years overseas. What happened to Harry? More work needs to be completed on him as he survived the war.
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