William Harper was the eldest son of John and Edith Harper. His father was a farm labourer. The family originated from Shropshire and William Harper was, in fact, born in Hadnall Shropshire. That said, by 1901 the family had moved to Tattenhall and they were listed as living at Church Bank, Piccadilly, Tattenhall. By then, William (now aged 6 on the 1901 Census) had two sisters, Edith and Sarah, and a brother, John, all of whom were born in Tattenhall.
William does not appear to have been at home on Census Night 1911 but the family had grown considerably with several other children, namely, Levi, Martha, Albert and George. By now too, the family had moved to Newton, Near Tattenhall.
In an article in The Chronicle dated Saturday, 15 September, 1914, it was reported that ‘Tattenhall Swells its Roll of Honour’. It was reported that William Harper was one of many who had ‘joined His Majesty’s Forces from Tattenhall and the immediate neighbourhood’.
William Harper joined the Cheshire Regiment (8th Battalion). His regimental service number was 11576. He was recorded as wounded and missing/KIA (Killed in Action) on 11 April 1917; his duty location being the Persian Gulf.
Private William Harper is remembered in Basra, Iraq, and on the Tattenhall War Memorial.
The political sensitivity in Iraq, resulted in the Basra Memorial being completed relocated in 1997. It remains extremely challenging, however, for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to manage and/or maintain its cemeteries and memorials located within Iraq. Alternative arrangements for commemoration have therefore been implemented and a two volume ‘Roll of Honour’ listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq has been produced. These volumes are on display at the Commission’s Head Office in Maidenhead and are available for the public to view. An image is shown below (simply click on the image to enlarge).
The Commission continues to monitor the situation in Iraq and once the political climate has improved to an acceptable level the Commission will commence a major rehabilitation project for its cemeteries and commemorations.