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The Men Who Died



299                  300                                                                              

Lance Corporal Harry Skeel Duncan Dempster

King's Royal Rifle Corps. 7th Battalion, service no. R/6328

Died of wounds in France on August 3rd, 1915, aged 27

Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, France

He became a clerk for the Midland Railway in about 1906, having spells at both Pontardawe and Brynamman. By 1911 Harry is working as a canvasser in the printing industry, and boarding, in Carmarthen. He enlisted in the King's Royal Rifles at Haverfordwest on November 2nd, 1914, joining up with them at Winchester two days later.  He states his occupation as clerk and joins as a private. Harry was promoted to lance corporal in April 1915 and went to France in May. He wrote home

Harry was born in Bromyard, Herefordshire in 1888. The family soon moved to Brecon and in 1889 were living at Kennel Cottage in The Watton, where his father was a huntsman. The family remain in Brecon for over twenty years but later moved to Wiston in Pembrokeshire, Harry's father's birthplace. Harry attended Brecon County School where he was in the Cadet Force and also appears on a list of Christ College pupils, although there is some doubt about this.

giving a vivid picture of life in the trenches and one of his letters was reproduced in the local paper at the time of his death.

The 7th King's Royal Rifles (KRR) were attached to the 41st Brigade, 14th Light Division and were involved in fighting in the Ypres area. The Division was to see its first action during the Action of Hooge, where the Division were the first to be subjected to German use of flamethrowers.

Harry was probably wounded in the German attack of 30th/31st July, 1915 when the 7th KRR position was caught from the front, back and flank, forcing the battalion to withdraw from its forward position. There is a memorial cross to the KRR in this vicinity. Harry had left the trenches when he thought a comrade had been hit and wounded and in going back to him was himself critically wounded from gunshot wounds to the head. He is commemorated on the Llanelli War Memorial. Harry's brother George⁴º was also killed in October 1918 whilst serving as a Rifleman with the Monmouthshire Regiment and his story is related elsewhere in this book.

Another brother Sidney served with the 1st Brecknock Battalion and after the war was well known in Brecon, working for the County Education Office.



    See page 234

WW1 Book (233)