Private Harold Norman Ketley G/6000


Harold was born in Queenborough in the 4th quarter of 1887 to a father named John. He grew up in Queenborough with his father who is listed as living at 97 High Street and Harold living at 3 Whiteway Road when he enlisted in the East Kent Regiment on 24th March 1914. His attestation shows he was 27 years old, a labourer, unmarried and had received a notice ordering him to enlist, the form is stamped Lieutenant ? Garrison Adjutant Sheerness, 6 months after the attestation was signed the 6th Infantry Division, which incorporated the 16th Division (with the East Kent Regiment attached) was sent to France where it stayed throughout the First World War. The division first saw action in the Battle of Ypres, they later moved into the Ypres Salient to relieve troops that had been in the second battle at Ypres. Here they had one major attack to defend which was directed at the Chateau at Hooge on the 9th August 1915.

By the end of July 1916 the division had been withdrawn due to the huge amount of casualties. 11,000 men had been injured. Two months later the 6th Artillery Division was attached to the XIV Corps and they were sent to the Battle of the Somme. Their first direction was to attack the German fortification known as the Quadrilateral, this battle is known as the Battle of Flers – Courcelette and was the debut of the Mark I tank. The tanks were to be an important defensive weapon, unfortunately due to mechanical and performance problems this was not to be the case. Out of 49 available tanks only 15 were able to be used. The battle began on the 15th September 1916, the tanks struggled to attack the Quadrilateral due to the strength of the fortifications however their unexpected appearance and the threat they appeared to pose were useful in this division succeeding in their direction, how much of the tanks debut and the first day of battle Private Harold saw is unknown at this point as he died on this fateful day, and so ends his story. He was buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery in Guillemont, France and his name appears on the War Memorial outside the church in Queenborough. Private Ketley was awarded the Victory medal, the British War medal and the 1915 Star for serving during WWI

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