Absolom, Harris Lee Moore (Lee)
No. 17117, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)
Mill Road Cemetery, France (Grave VI. C. 2)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) Memorial Plaque
Bangor Parish Church Honorary Society of Bell Ringers Roll of Honour
Church Bell Ringers’ Memorial Book 1914 – 1918
Harris Lee Moore Absolom was born on 10 March 1895 in Helen’s Tower View, Bangor and he was a son of George Absolom (born in Penge, Kent, England) and Isabel (Belle) Kennedy Absolom (nee Dalziel, born in Scotland) who were married on 19 April 1888 in Edinburgh.
The Absolom family lived at Killiney, 6 Bryansburn Road, Bangor
Before that the Absolom family lived in Scotland
George Absolom was a tea-agent and he and Belle had five children:
George Dalziel (born in Scotland)
William Cyril (born 9 August 1891, died of bronchitis in Dufferin Avenue, Bangor 1 January 1894 aged 2)
Harris Lee Moore (born 10 March 1895 in Helen’s Tower View, Bangor)
Charles Eric (born 29 January 1898 in Killiney, Bangor)
Marie Marguerite (born 13 February 1901, died 23 September 1984 aged 83)
Before the First World War Lee Absolom worked in Henderson’s Dental Surgery and he was a Bugler in the local Ulster Volunteer Force. He was a Bell Ringer in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s).
During the First World War Lee’s brother Dalziel served as a Gunner under General Botha during the conquest of German West Africa.
During the First World War Lee’s father George served with the 20th Company Royal Army Medical Corps (No. 102760). He was 52 when he enlisted on 6 October 1915 in Belfast and it was noted that he was 5 feet 6¼ inches tall. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, served in the Home Theatre of War and was discharged on 16 January 1920.
Lee Absolom enlisted in Bangor and served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. In July 1916 there were unofficial reports that Lance Corporal Lee Absolom had been killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Officially he was posted as missing in action and then in August 1916 unsubstantiated news of Lee’s death reached Bangor in a letter written by a Rifleman in the Ulster Division who had survived the Battle of the Somme. He said that he had seen Lee Absolom ‘bombing the fleeing Germans’.
The Rifleman described how they had advanced through heavy artillery and machine gun fire, wiped out the enemy front line and left them all ‘sleeping the long sleep’. He said that the Ulster Division met ‘terrible resistance’ on the way to the second line but Lee Absolom ‘had no fear in him’ and the second line was taken after a bayonet charge. It was there, the letter writer stated, that Lee Absolom had been killed by an exploding German bomb.
In July 1917 the Absolom family received official confirmation that Lance Corporal Lee Absolom had been killed in action on 1 July 1916 (aged 21) and he was buried in Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval, France. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
IN HONOURED REST
Lance Corporal Harris Lee Moore Absolom is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum; on the Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) Memorial Plaque; in the Bangor Parish Church Honorary Society of Bell Ringers Roll of Honour and in the Church Bell Ringers’ Memorial Book 1914 – 1918.
On Armistice Night 1918 Lee’s brother Eric, then a Patrol Leader in 1st Bangor Boy Scouts, saved the life of a sailor who slipped off Bangor Pier and fell into the water. Eric Absolom dived into the water to rescue the sailor and for his bravery was awarded the Scout’s Gilt Cross.
Lee’s mother, Belle Absolom, died on 2 January 1930 (aged 62). Lee’s father, George Absolom, died on 12 January 1942 (aged 78). Both were buried in Bangor Abbey Graveyard.