Name: Charles Abraham Harman
Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 28694
Date of Death: 22/03/1918
Regiment/Service: 18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars
Panel Reference: Panel 5. Memorial: Pozieres Memorial
Additional Information: Husband of Alice Harman, of 41 Elmville Avenue, Scarborough.
Paul Allen writes:
It was during Thursday, 22 March 1918 that another resident of Scarborough – and a veteran of the Boer War – also lost his life. Born at 9 Forsyth Street in Rotherhythe, South East London, during 1883, 28694 Lance Corporal Charles Abraham Harman was the 5th of 6 children and son of ‘Shipwright’ Henry and Eliza (formerly Caney) Harman. 
Following the death of his father at the age of 48 during 1884, Charlie and the remainder of his family resided in Rotherhythe at 14 Neptune Street with grandparents Luke and Emily Caney; he lived at this address until his enlistment into the army of Queen Victoria at London on 20 September 1898.
Aged 18 years and 8 months by 1898, Harman had already been a soldier in the Militia (the predecessor of the Territorial Army), in 3rd Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment. At his enlistment he described himself as a ‘labourer’. Given a rudimentary medical it was noted that he had measured at 4 feet 4½ inches in height, and possessed a ‘fair’ complexion, ‘blue grey eyes, and ‘red’ hair. Enlisting for ‘short service’ (7 years with the colours and 5 in the Reserve Army), into the East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own), Charlie duly joined the Regiment at its Regimental Depot, located at Beverley, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Consisting of universally moustachioed soldiers (in Harman’s day it was forbidden by military law for men to shave above their upper lip) who drank, brawled, and womanised in every garrison town from Beverley to India, the Regular Army East Yorkshire Regiment (the Duke of York’s Own) had been raised in 1685 as Sir William Clifton’s Regiment of Foot, and nicknamed ‘The Snappers’. At the time that Harman joined the Regiment it consisted of two battalions of infantry, the First and Second, which had alternated between service in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Issued with the Regimental Number of 5900, Charlie began his service at Beverley on 21 September 1898 and he remained in training there until the following year. An inkling of harshness of the conditions Harman endured during that initial period of his army training is described by another recruit of the period;
‘The military vocabulary, minor tactics, knowledge of parts of a rifle, route marches, fatigues, semaphore [signalling], judging distance, shooting lectures on esprit de corps, and on the history of our regiment, spit and polish, drill, saluting drill, physical training, and other, forgotten subjects were rubbed into us for the worst six months of my life … In time we effaced ourselves. Our bodies developed and our backs straightened according to plan … Pride of arms possessed us, and we discovered that our regiment was a regiment, and then some’…(Private John Lucy; ‘Tommy’; Richard Holmes).
Despite the hardships, unlike many others, Charlie Harman survived the course to ‘pass out’ of recruit training on 9 January 1899 when he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, East Yorks. Stationed at Ireland at Templemore and Tipperary until late 1899, by the start of 1900 the 2nd battalion had arrived back in England to be stationed at Aldershot where the men began to hear rumours of the battalion being sent to the ‘troubles in South Africa’. Sure enough, during February 1900, the men of 2 Battalion (commanded at this time by Lt Col W W Ward) had exchanged their customary smart scarlet tunics for khaki ’Service Dress’, their equally impressive blue cloth helmets for khaki drab cork sun helmets and, by 14 March the battalion had arrived at Southampton where it embarked ‘for foreign service’ in the SS Nile.
After coaling at St Vincent, the Nile arrived at Cape Town during the morning of 3 April 1900, and soon the men of the battalion entrained for Kimberley and the start of their war in South Africa.
Charlie Harman remained in South Africa until January 1903 when, by March of that year, he was once again stationed at Tournay Barracks, North Camp, Aldershot. On 26 March he was amongst 14 officers and 170 men of 2nd East Yorks who were presented with the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps bearing the Battle Honours of ‘Cape Colony’, ‘Transvaal’, and ‘Wittenburgen’. In addition he also received the King’s South Africa Medal bearing the clasps’1901’, and ‘1902’. Posted back to the Depot at Beverley soon afterwards, Charlie remained there until 1910. During this time he extended the length of his service to 8 years with the colours and, in exchange, he was awarded the Good Conduct Badge. Married in Beverley’s St. John’s Church on 27 June 1908 to Beverley-born (1882) ‘spinster’ Alice Fallowfield, the couple began living in Beverley at 10 Vicar Lane with Alice’s parents, ‘cabinet maker’ Thomas and Emily Ann Fallowfield. Charlie and Alice eventually became the parents of two children: Alice Dorothy, born at Beverley on 28 July 1908; and Harry Charles, born on 25 September 1909.
By the time of the 1911 Census the 28-year-old Charlie was once again serving abroad with ‘F’ Company of 2nd East Yorks at Fyzabad in India. However, by the following year he had served for 12 years with the colours and he was soon making his way back to the Regimental Depot at Beverley where he was discharged from the army on 19 September 1912.
By the outbreak of the ‘Great War’ the Harman family was residing in Scarborough at 41 Elmville Avenue. By this time Charlie was employed as a ‘vanman’ by local confectioners Messrs Stuart & Co. However, upon the outbreak of war in August 1914, Charlie was not amongst the army reservist that called back to the colours hours after Britain’s declaration of war with Germany and he remained a civilian until 5 April 1915 when he enlisted for war service with the 18th Hussars.
Instead of joining his old regiment Harman, by then an experienced handler of horses, elected to serve in the cavalry and he was duly assigned to the 18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars. Initially posted to the Cavalry Depot at Tidworth for training with the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment (Regimental Number 28694) Charlie eventually joined the 18th Hussars in France during 1916. He served in the majority of the major actions of the war, albeit on the sidelines whilst awaiting the all-important breakthrough of the German line that never materialised until the final stages of the war.
During the desperate days of March 1918, as had often been the case, the 18th Hussars exchanged their cavalry role for that of the infantryman and were thrown into the line wherever they were most needed at the time, therefore it has proved impossible to ascertain where on the Somme Sector Charlie Harman, and the majority of his cavalrymen, were serving at the time of his demise on 22 March 1918.
Aged 34, and promoted to the rank of corporal at the time of his death, the news of Charlie Harman’s demise was reported in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday, 12 April 1918:
‘Killed in second war’
Corporal C. Harman, Hussars, 41 Elmville Avenue, has been killed in action. He was twelve years in the East Yorks, and took part in the South African War, for which he had two medals and several bars. He rejoined April 5th 1915 having been a vanman of Messrs. Stuart and Co. for seven years. He was a great lover of horses and many knew him for the care lavished on any animal in his charge. He was thirty five years of age and leaves a widow and two children … ’
No remains identifiable as those of Charlie Harman have ever been located on the Somme battlefield and his name was subsequently included on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing. Located in the Somme Department of Northern France, the Pozieres Memorial is situated a little to the south of Pozieres, a village 6 kilometres north east of the town of Albert. It consists of a series of name-engraved stone panels set into a rubble stone wall surrounding Pozieres British Cemetery. Designed by W H Cowlishaw with sculptures by Laurence A Turner, the Memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930 and contains the names of over 14,000 British and 300 South African servicemen who died on the Somme during the period from the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918 to the beginning of the Advance to Victory, 7 August 1918, and who have no known grave. Charlie’s name can be located on Panel 5 that is dedicated to the officers and men of 18th Hussars who lost their lives during that period.
In Scarborough, Charlie Harman’s name is commemorated on Oliver’s Mount War Memorial and on the large stone and marble ‘Roll of Honour’ located on the north interior wall of St Mary’s Parish Church that also contains the names of a further 155 former members of the parish who lost their lives whilst on active service during the Great War of 1914-1918.
 ‘Widower’ Henry Harman and ‘Spinster’ Eliza Caney were married in Bermondsey at St Mary Magdalene’s Parish Church on 15 July 1873. Although given the name of Abraham Charles Harman by his parents, Harman had always served under the name of Charles Abraham. He is also commemorated in Scarborough, and by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by this name, and it is, therefore, the name I have used in the text.