Harry has proved very difficult to research as he doesn’t appear in Shepherdswell censuses leading up to the War, in parish registers or in local directories. The only sources for information found to date are newspaper reports.
In November 1918, the Dover Express ran an article entitled “Charges of Brutal Treatment of a Child”, which gave details of a prosecution brought by the NSPCC against Harry and Mary Barnard of Manor House, Shepherdswell. The house was described as rather isolated, about 50 yards from the road, in a garden. There was a nearby cul-de-sac leading to a public house which was stated to be nearer to Manor House than the main road.
Harry was a miner and said that he had been in France with the Army for 2 years, was currently awaiting his discharge papers, and was apparently allowed to work in the mines. He and Mary had adopted a 4-yearold boy in July, son of Gertrude Burden of London Road in Dover. Complaints were received that Harry was abusing the boy and the NSPCC Inspector had visited the house to find that the boy was covered in bruises. The child was taken to the Union Infirmary for examination by a doctor, who concluded that the bruises had been caused by beating him. In court, Harry admitted to hitting him with a leather belt, which had a large brass buckle. The sentence was reported the following month in the Whitstable Times & Herne Bay Herald. Both Harry and Mary were sent to prison for cruelty; Harry was sentenced to 3 months hard labour and Mary to 6 weeks hard labour. What happened to the boy is not recorded.
Without any other information to determine any personal details about Harry, it hasn’t been possible to determine his army records with any certainty.
Nothing more has been discovered to date.