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138th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery


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Major H G Paris

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Major H G Paris, Military Cross and Bar
Commanding Officer, March 1917 to October 1918

Much of the following information has kindly been supplied by Major Paris' family.

Born 13 October 1887 in Hampshire, the youngest son of Alexander and Emma Paris of Southampton
Educated at the King's School Canterbury from 1901 to 1905 during which time he played for the Cricket First XI

Entered The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, July 1905
Commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery, 23 July 1907
Promoted Lieutenant, 23 July 1910
Subsequently served with his Battery in Hong Kong, returning in 1913


Cadet Young Officer
Army Cadet Junior Officer

Proceeded to France, 19 August 1914, as Lt with 35th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

H G Paris
1914

Took part in the retreat from Mons and the first battle of Ypres
Gazetted Captain in November 1914
Mentioned in General French's despatches of 31 May 1915

Posted from 131th HB RGA to take command of newly formed 138th HB, July 1915
Relinquished command to Major A Mitchell, March 1916
Mentioned in General Haig's despatches of 13 November 1916
Posted to 200th Siege Battery, temporarily in command, 16 November 1916
Took command of 138th HB from Major A Mitchell, 20 December 1916
Gazetted Acting Major, 21 January 1917
Posted as Officer Commanding 144th HB, 21 January 1917
Reposted to 138th HB as Major and Officer Commanding, 20 February 1917

Awarded the Military Cross, 16 August 1917

H G Paris
M C citation


Awarded a Bar to the Military Cross, 16 September 1918

M C and Bar citation



The Diary of Major Harold Graham Paris

35th Heavy Battery, RGA

August 17th to September 5th, 1914
September 6th to 15th, 1914  (The Battle of the Marne and the Aisne)
October 13th, 1914 to January 3rd, 1915  (The Battle of Flanders and Ypres)

138th Heavy Battery, RGA (The Hampstead Heavies)
March 21st to March 29th, 1918  (The German Offensive)



Major Paris was killed in action at Estrées on 6 October 1918 and buried the following day in Hargicourt Military Cemetery.

H G Paris
Major Paris stood 6' 3" tall
He was 31 years old when he was killed

The following account of the death of Major Paris is extracted from a letter written by Gunner F Edgecumbe.

"About twenty to four the first shell came on to the battery. Several Hun planes flew overhead and directed the fire by dropping red lights, all the time machine-gunning. We did not move from the bivouacs as the shelling was direct on the battery which was some 300 yards away.

After about ten minutes the 'planes evidently spotted our bivouacs and, I should imagine, took them for ammunition dumps. There was a sudden burst of fire round the bivvies, and for about five minutes hell raged. The shells were chiefly "77's" and 4.2 gas. We laid flat and only hoped.

A shell burst just outside our home and a fragment wounded Gunner Ward (Mr. Greenhough's man) in the heel. He screamed out, and I got him into a chair and ripped off his boot. He shouted for the Major, who was half asleep in his bivvy, for the fiercest bombardment was a matter of indifference to him. He came in and pacified Ward, whose heel I had dressed.

The Major was in front of Ward, when Billingham (Lt. Annesley's man), who was watching me replace Ward's boot, was hit in the head. He rolled over screaming, and the Major immediately tore his own field dressing out and began to dress the wound.

To make space I took Ward into the officers' bivouac and laid him on his back, so that he was comparatively safe, being below the ground level. The shelling was continuous.

A 4.2 gas shell burst behind the kitchen and again wounded Billingham in the leg. The Major came to the door of the kitchen, and I rose to go to him. He said, "A field dressing, Edgcumbe," and came towards me. As I was handing it to him a shell burst behind or sideways, I don't know which.

He was struck by a piece, staggered towards me, and I caught him in my arms. His own weight carried both myself and him to the entrance of the Mess, I staggered backwards under his weight, and he collapsed in a sitting position on the ground, I supporting him. I tore open his collar, and saw the wound just below the right collar bone, the piece having passed through both lungs and out at his left side. He uttered no word, for his lungs were full. As I placed the pad upon the wound the blood stopped welling, and he had passed away.

The whole affair took no longer than two minutes from beginning to end. When I saw he had gone the whole world went dark to me, and I shouted out for help. Gunner Butcher shouted for help, and Corporal Norton and Bombardier Elliot rushed up, after them came Lt. Greenhough, he looked at the Major, gave one hopeless gesture, and said, "He has gone, we can do nothing."

Billingham was wounded for the third time, and Lt Greenhough and the others, with Dawkins, who could not leave Billingham, took him and Ward to the dressing station. There was a slight lull in the shelling for about ten minutes, I composed the Major, and covered him as best I could. The shelling recommenced, and I was alone there. I took a chance and ran to the cookhouse for company. Sergeant Taylor was killed about the same time.

Lts. Greenhough and Annesley came around and cleared us all into the cellars of a ruined farm about 200 yards on the flank. There we took shelter for the night. The next day I took the Major's possessions from his pocket, and we wrapped him in two blankets, a soldier's shroud. In the afternoon (again we were shelled).

We carried his body to a motor lorry, which conveyed all that remained of the two bravest and most gallant men in France to the Hargicourt Quarry Military Cemetery. A grave had been prepared by his own men, and there we buried them, side by side, two brave souls.

The while a great 9.2 Railway gun, a few yards off, fired, as it seemed, a parting salute. A trumpeter sounded the Last Post, and we looked our last upon him we admired and loved beyond all men. The Colonel and Staff and several brother Majors paid their last respects at the grave, and so we left them in a soldier's grave, laying as they would have wished to lay, buried by the loving hands of men who loved them as truly as a man can love.

"We shall never forget him."

Manuscript of Gunner Edgecumbe's letter
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