Missing Winchester – Love in the Great War


Posted by Andy Goddard

Posted in News

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The story of a great war soldier from Winchester is now being featured on the National Army Museum’s new commemorative website.

The experiences of Regimental Sergeant-Major Harrington, a Distinguished Conduct Medal recipient, is the second in a series of soldiers’ stories to be highlighted by the Museum.

Love in the Great War

Extensive extracts from letters Sergeant-Major Harrington wrote to his wife from training camps and the Western Front give fascinating insight into the daily life of a local soldier in the Army during the War, whilst photos of Harrington and his wife bring their story to life.

Missing Winchester, Love in the Great war

The tale is also a rather sad one, as Harrington did not survive the war. He was killed by a shell at Ypres, never getting to meet his second child born in April, 1915.

Here’s a sample of his words, written in August 1914, when he had been re-called to his unit in London:

‘It is pretty certain that we shall not be allowed home as before… Everything is going very well but of course I am slogging 12 hours a day and will have to do so for a while…It looks as if the greatest battle in the history of the world will soon be in progress.

Missing Winchester Love in the Great War

‘We are still awaiting our orders to move and have as yet, little idea as to when we shall march. The battalion was again called upon for foreign service. The result has not yet been published. I hope to be able to see you at least once more before we move…

‘My work doesn’t get any lighter but as it is successful I must, in present circumstances, be quite

content. Now, my darling, please keep the society of those people in the neighbourhood whom we know. By such means as these you will minimize the feelings of loneliness and the inclination to mope…

‘Please believe that you and my lovely child are constantly in my thoughts and that I pray to God for your protection. Should you ever feel miserable pray to him and bear in mind the many

thousands of other women who, are in many ways, in worse plight than you, and also that we must all bear something for the sake of Mother England’.

Harrington’s body was never recovered but his name was later listed on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

With thanks to Laura Gordon at the National Army Museum.