Henry Lee

Henry Lee  1887 – 1917

Although Henry Lee is listed as being one of the men of Shepherdswell who signed up in WW1, no record can be found of a man of that name who resided in the village. The most likely candidate is Henry Lee, known as Harry, who was born in Camberwell on 14th June 1887, to parents William and Esther (née Griggs). 

William was working as a carman when Henry was baptised on 15th June 1891 and the family were living in Ann’s Terrace. 1901 saw the family living in Plumstead where Henry, at the age of 13, was working as an ‘Elect. App.’ By 1911, they had moved to Eythorne and were living at The Drove. 

Harry, aged 24, was working at a colliery as a labourer above ground. There had originally been ten children but only five were still alive at this stage. William was working as a shepherd and Harry’s siblings George Ernest, Elizabeth, Rueben and Arthur were also with the family.

There are many Dover Express entries for both football and cricket matches, where it is obvious that at least two of the Lee brothers took part. There were no Lee entries in the village at this stage, so it is likely that this was the Eythorne family. It is known that Rueben lived at 4 Whittington Terrace by the time of the 1939 Register with his wife Ethel (née Vincent) and a daughter, and was employed as an engine driver at the colliery and serving in the Auxiliary Fire Service at Shepherdswell. Father William was living at West Court Bungalow from at least 1928 and was still there in 1932 when Harry’s mother died.

Harry enlisted in Canterbury on 22nd April 1912, joining the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles. He later transferred to the Army Service Corps, no. T4/238990, as a driver. In March 1917, he was serving at the Advanced Dressing Station at Grosville in France. At Reveille one morning, he was sitting on the bottom tier of the bed, putting on his socks, when the tiers above collapsed, trapping him with his head bent forward over his knees. The beam of wood that trapped him normally supported the weight of three men and, when Harry was extricated, his spine was found to be fractured. He was transferred back to England, to the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital at Ipswich, on 31st March. He died at 5.20pm on 17th June 1917, with his next of kin arriving after his death. His body was transferred to Sandwich and is buried at St Mary, Woodnesborough.