Lieutenant John Alexander Stuart Harrison



John Alexander Stuart Harrison was born on 16 December 1872 at The Cottage, Dromore, County Down, the fourth of seven children of linen manufacturer Robert Harrison and his wife Charlotte Jane (nee McKean). He was educated at Dromore Intermediate School.

In 1900 Harrison enlisted in the 99th (Irish) Company, Imperial Yeomanry, 8th Battalion (No.34487), later transferring to the 74th (Dublin) Company, serving in the South African War in 1901-02. After his discharge at the end of the war he returned to South Africa, where he was employed in the Telephone Engineers' Branch of the Cape Town GPO. By August 1914 he had returned to Ireland, where he worked as a manufacturer's agent.

Harrison enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 1 October 1914 (No.1233). He was aged 41 at the time, but this was overlooked no doubt due to his previous military experience. He was promoted to corporal on 20 October, sergeant on 7 November and squadron quartermaster-sergeant on 13 April 1915.

Harrison embarked for France with E Squadron on 11 January 1916. Two months later he applied for a commission following a request for recommendations of fit, older NCOs and men to serve as officers in the Army Service Corps. In recommending Harrison, his commanding officer Captain Finlay, wrote:

This N.C.O will make a very good officer. He is quick at grasping a situation, and has plenty of initiative with good sound judgement. Though I have no hesitation in saying he would make a very capable officer in either a mounted or infantry unit, his services in that branch might not possibly make up for the loss he would be in A.S.C. He thoroughly understands "supply" & would be quite capable of being in charge of a responsible post. I have no hesitation in saying he would be invaluable & that if he had been granted a temporary commission at the beginning of the War I am certain he would have obtained a good appointment by now.

After a temporary attachment to GHQ Troop Train for a qualification test, Harrison was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 8 January 1917 and posted to the Army Service Corps (Horse Transport) at Le Harve Base Depot. He was later posted to the 5th (Auxuliary) Horse Company at Boulogne, the 22nd (Auxiliary) Horse Company at Dunkirk, and No.47 Reserve Park (444 Coy). He was promoted to lieutenant on 8 July 1918.

During 1919 Harrison served in the Rhine Army in the 8th Division Motor Transport Company before returning to the UK on 23 July. He relinquished his commission on 2 August 1919.

After the war Harrison moved to England. He died at the Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton, on 17 April 1951.



The image of Harrison above, taken in 1914, can be seen in its full context here. Image of Harrison's British War Medal Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy.