Private Henry Charles Abery


Henry Charles Abery was born in the last quarter of 1870 at Chawn Hill, Stourbridge, Worcestershire, the second of at least four children of labourer and domestic servant Charles Hammond Abery and his wife Betsy (nee Hirons). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living as a boarder in a house in Allfarthing Lane, Wandsworth, and working as a musician at a skating rink.

Within a year, however, Abery moved to Belfast where, on 30 April 1912, he enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.703). He gave his age as 29 years and 3 months (he was actually 41) and claimed to be a farmer.

Abery attended the regiment's annual camps from 1912 to 1914, and following the declaration of war was mobilised on 8 August 1914. On 19 March 1915 he was transferred to the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (No.7540).

It is likely that Abery remained on home duties with the 4th Battalion through 1915 to at least late 1917, after which he embarked for France.

In 1916 he lost six days' pay for being absent from 3 to 8 April. He was posted as a deserter on 2 July 1917, but rejoined on 5 August – it is not known what if any punishment was awarded.

Abery was transferred to the Tank Corps in mid-October 1918 (No.303029). He remained with this regiment until demobilised at Oswestry on 29 March 1919. Two months later he re-enlisted in the Labour Corps (No.697712). This time he stated his real age – 49. His medical health was graded as B.2. He was posted to No.700 Labour Company.

Abery was demobilised on 28 April 1920. His character was recorded as 'good'.

Abery returned to Belfast, where he lived at 84 Maryville Street until his death on 19 April 1925. He was buried in the City Cemetery.