Harrison, Richard John Michael (Michael)
No. 320633, 4th Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Killed on active service on Thursday 1 March 1945 (aged 20)
Reichwald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (Grave 43. B. 7)
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)
Rockport School, Craigavad
Richard John Michael Harrison was born on 6 September 1924 and he was the elder son of Major General Desmond Harrison CB, DSO and Kathleen Frances Harrison (nee Hazley) who lived at Shalom, 52 Bryansburn Road, Bangor. Desmond Harrison was born in County Kilkenny and he served in France and Palestine during the First World War.
Desmond Harrison and Kathleen Hazley were married in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) on 8 December 1920. Desmond Harrison (aged 24) from 3 Seacliff Road, Bangor was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and a son of Richard James Harrison, a retired Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officer. Kathleen Frances Hazley (aged 20) from Shalom, Bryansburn Road, Bangor was a daughter of William Hazley, a linen merchant.
Desmond and Kathleen Harrison (nee Hazley) had four children:
Richard John Michael
Desmond Roger Wingate
All four children attended Rockport School, Craigavad. The two girls attended this boys’ school because their friend, Mercy Bing, daughter of the then Headmaster Geoffrey Bing, was being educated there.
Michael Harrison was Head Boy at Rockport and then Head of his House at Rugby School. He was a keen bird watcher and a skilled fisherman.
Michael Harrison had a classical scholarship to Worcester College, Oxford but instead of going there to read Japanese (he was a skilled linguist) he went straight into the Army and entered Sandhurst in May 1943.
During the Second World War, Michael’s father, Major General Desmond Harrison CB DSO was Chief Engineer in Lord Louis Mountbatten’s South East Asia Command; his mother Kathleen was the Personnel Officer in the Short and Harland Glen Works in Newtownards; his maternal grandfather, William Hazley, owned a linen business in Belfast and his maternal grandmother was a sister of Canon Bradley of Bangor Parish Church; his uncle Richard (Dick) Harrison was Police Commissioner in Belfast; his sister Felicity Harrison (later Preedy) served with the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in Sydenham, Belfast and also in Leeds and then in Donibristle, Dunfermline; his sister Patsy Harrison was a Land Girl in England.
For a time, the Harrison family lived in Alresford, Hampshire.
Lieutenant Richard John Michael Harrison (No. 320633) served in the Coldstream Guards and was posted to the Independent Tank Brigade which was part of the Guards Armoured Division. He was 20 when he was killed by a sniper on 1 March 1945 when taking part in a heavily resisted tank advance on Kervenheim in North Germany. He was buried in Reichwald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
RIVERS HE LOVED,
LAUGHTER AND BIRDSONG,
AND THE QUIET HILLS
Lieutenant Richard John Michael Harrison (No. 320633) is commemorated in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and in Rockport School, Craigavad.
His father Desmond died in 1984 and his mother Kathleen died in 1993.