100 years after the guns fall silent: A piece of Hull’s heart remains in France

Oppy village memorial for the fallen

 

100 years after the guns fall silent, the world remembers the fallen hero’s of World War 1. For many Hull families their thoughts return to a sleepy French village.

Oppy’s memorial to Hull’s fallen men

 

On 3rd May 1917 in a wood, north west of the village of Oppy, The German army had set up an observation station. The planned attach by British troops,  would create a diversion drawing the enemy away from the primary target. In total 326 men would lose their lives may of which became known as the Hull Pals.

6,250 men from Hull answered the call and signed up to fight for King and Country. Hull as a city provided over 70,000 men overall to the cause.

Of all those that gave the ultimate sacrifice one name appears over and over again…2nd Lieutenant John ‘Jack’ Harrison.

Jack was an East Hull lad. He trained as a teacher at York St Johns and it was there his talent for rugby was uncovered.

He was recruited to play for Hull FC in the 1912/13 season, his talent lit up the Boulevard.

Hull FC remember the fallen

Following a stint in Suez Egypt, the 11th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment arrived at the Somme.

On 25th February 1917 2nd Lieutenant Harrison led his patrol into no-mans land. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for his actions.

It was his actions on 3rd May 1917 that would lead to the machine guns falling silent .  The attach to capture Oppy Wood had been ordered for dawn, however this was brought forward. The mistake was made to order the attack during the night. The moonlight cast shadows on the men exposing their location and the slaughter of many. It was his actions alone which silenced the guns and led to him posthumously being awarded the Victoria Cross ( VC).

His boy was never found.