STIFF, Harry

No.13118, Private, Harry STIFF
Aged 27

1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 18th February 1915

Harry Stiff was born in Chedburgh, (Thingoe Q4-1886 4A:677), baptised in All Saints, Chedburgh on 28th November 1886, son of William and Sarah Ann STIFF (née WILLINGHAM).

1891 census...Aged 4, he was at Chevington Road, Hargrave with his father William STIFF [43] farm labourer; his mother Sarah Ann [42]; brothers Robert [15], John [11] Both farm labourers)and Alfred; sisters Ellen [6] and Emily [2]. Emily was born in Whepstead, all the others in Chedburgh.

1901 census...Aged 14, a farm labourer, he was at the Cock's Head Inn, Hargrave with his parents (father now Inn Keeper), brother Alfred (farm labourer) and sister Emily.

1911 census...Aged 24, an unemployed farm labourer, he was at Ashfield Green, Wickhambrook with his parents (father now unemployed) and brother Alfred (farm labourer).

The family address from CWGC was Ingleside, Wickhambrook.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds, serving less than one year.
CWGC have 29 of the 1st Suffolks killed on 18th February. They were actually relieved at 2 am that morning and marched back to billets in Kruisstraat. They had been attempting to take and hold a line just south of Ypres, from less than adequate trenches in poor weather. The battalion, according to Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" lost between 15th and 18th, 4 officers, 19 OR killed, 4 officers and 55 OR wounded and 3 officers and 171 OR missing.

Harry would have been one of those missing for some time as he was not found until 1922 (identified by titles and a hair brush) and re-interred in Birr Croosroads. The fact that Oak Dump cemetery was so close was immaterial as by 1922 only a few cemeteries were still open for burials.

The Bury Free Press of 27th March 1915 reported:-
Official information has been received that Prvt. Harry Stiff, of the 2nd Suffolks, of Wickhambrook, was killed in action near Ypres. The village had nine in the fighting line, and the result is two killed and two missing since August. Two are in the trenches and one is at home recovering from frost bite.

photo;Google via

photo; Pierre Vandervelden

Harry Stiff is buried in Birr Cross Roads cemetery, grave 1:B:22

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details