Topic: Harry Allan Wilson Lake
Harry Allan Wilson Lake #40821 was a First World War soldier with links to Upper Riccarton
Harry Allen Wilson Lake was born on 9th October 1894 in Christchurch. His parents were Elizabeth Ann Dell and Henry Lake. They married on 2nd January 1882 in Christchurch. Harry was the seventh of eight children, his siblings being; Walter; William; Alfred; Annie; David; Emma; and Leslie. The family lived at 10 Curletts Road (formerly known as Corlett’s Road) in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand. Harry’s father died in 1908 at only 49 years old. His mother lived to the good age of 80 years. They are both buried in St Peter’s Anglican churchyard in Upper Riccarton. There is a memorial to their son Allen (Harry) inscribed on their headstone.
Older brother Walter was only 19 years old when he joined the New Zealand Eighth Contingent in South Africa in 1902 and arranged for 3 shillings per day to come out of his pay to go to his mother. Another brother David also volunteered to serve in the army in World War I. Unfortunately on his way to camp he fell off the train and one of his legs was severed in the accident. Sergeant-Major Frances Charles Holmes was awarded a bronze medal by the Humane Society for saving David’s life by applying a handkerchief tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Harry joined the New Zealand Army in Christchurch on 8th November 1916 and signed his attestation form as Allen Lake. At his medical examination he was described as a twenty one year old man with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He was 5 feet, 10 ½ inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He was declared “fit” for service.
Harry did his initial army training at Trentham and on 16th February 1917, he left New Zealand, by sea on the Navua, for Devonport, Devon, England. He had two more months of training at Sling Camp, on the Salisbury Plains, until he shipped out for France on 23rd July 2017. His time in the battlefield was interrupted by a severe bout of influenza that saw him hospitalised and then returned to England for recuperation, ten days leave, and machine gun training at Grantham Camp before returning to France on 29th March 1918.
Harry Allen Wilson Lake was killed in action 26th August 1918 in Bapaume, France. He was only 23 years old. At the time of his death Harry was private number 40821 in the New Zealand Machine Gun Battalion, B Company, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He is buried at Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension, near the village of Achiet-le-Grand, Pas de Calais, France.
Harry’s medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, were sent to his mother along with the New Zealand Memorial Plaque and Scroll. The Plaque would have had Harry’s full name inscribed on it and the words “He died for freedom and honour”
Harry Allen Wilson Lake is remembered on the Upper Riccarton Memorial Library’s Roll of Honour Board.