Gilbert Harrison was born in 1896 at Macclesfield, the son of Mary Jane (also known as Jane Mary) and George Harrison, a road labourer of 17 Pool Street, Macclesfield.
By 1901, the family had moved to 103 Park Lane, Mary Jane had died and her 22 year old daughter Bertha was acting as housekeeper for her father and caring for her younger siblings Gertude (18), Arthur (16), George (13), Frank (7), Alice (6), and Gilbert (5).
Gilbert attested at Macclesfield during the first week of September 1914, when he was living at 89 St George's Street, Macclesfield.
Following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm.
The following day at 2.30pm the Brigade moved north, but the 7th Cheshires and 4th Welsh Regiments on the left were under attack so had to pull back. Gilbert Harrison was killed in action on this day, aged 19.
Private Gilbert Harrison has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 76 to 78. on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Gilbert Harrison, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Gilbert Harrison is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael's Church war memorials.
Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield.