Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Henry Mortimer



Henry Mortimer and his twin brother Harold were born on 19 February 1898 at Thomas Street, Portadown, County Armagh, son of relieving officer Joseph Mortimer and his wife Margaret Jane (nee Levingston). (A 'relieving officer' is an official appointed by a parish or union to administer relief to the poor.)

Mortimer enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Portadown between 2 and 15 September 1916 (No.2267). However the following month he transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.24909).

In 1916 or early 1917 he embarked for France, where he joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, and was posted to C Company.

On 16 August 1917 Mortimer's battalion took part in the Battle of Langemarck, part of Third Ypres. Their casualties that day were twenty officers and 422 other ranks killed, wounded, captured or missing. Lieutenant Godson of the 9th Battalion described the day thus:

Hopes ran high.  Zero was at 4.45 am, too dark to see.  First messages were not too hopeful.  …  Saw many men moving on Hill 35 but could not make much of the situation, but at 6.45 am I saw flares lighted on the right near Gallipoli Copse …  Came back afterwards & said I did not think the show seemed to be going too well.  Went out again about 8.30 am & sometime afterwards saw many of our men coming back & then Germans in the Battery position on Hill 35.  Things looked bad so I moved up to the front line near Bank F[ar]m.  There I found chaos.  Battalions all mixed up & back.  …  The Boche had beaten us & the slaughter terrific.  …  Few Boche were in front of us, we killed hardly any.  Our casualties were huge especially in officers – a regular wipe-out.  Expenditure of ammunition enormous, net gain nil.

Private Mortimer was one of the many listed as missing that day, and his death was later officially accepted.

As he has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlanderen, Belgium, Panel 141.



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