Gunner Harold Gresham Dunkerley

Gunner Harold Gresham Dunkerley was the son of George Henry and Marion Dunkerley and brother of George Follyet and Maria.

George Henry had grown up on Pomona Street off Ecclesall Road. His father was a hatter. He began his working life as a silver engraver but changed to shop work sometime around 1882. By this time he had met Marion Siddall who lived with her family at Brightside. Marion and George were married in 1883 and by 1891 were the parents of two children George and Henry Gresham. They shared their home in Brightside with Marion’s two unmarried sisters.

Ten years later we find the extended family in Walkley an area that was much more healthy and by 1911 they had moved again to Filey Street. Harold had secured employment as a clerk with the city council and his elder brother, now married and living in Meersbrook,  was a cashier in a firm of accountants. This was an ‘upwardly mobile’ family.

Harold’s enlistment and service records do not exist so there is little information about his life during the war. He was definitely in Sheffield in the May 1916 when he married Margaret Newitt at St Mark’s Church in Broomhill.  Harold’s bride was Margaret Hewitt who had been born and raised in Liverpool. In the 1911census, Margaret is recorded as being a school teacher and living with her widowed mother and her brother, James. Also in the house that night was a visitor called John Alfred Fry, a native of Sheffield and, like his father, a ‘heraldic engraver’. John’s sister was also a teacher. So perhaps it was John Fry who encouraged Margaret to visit Sheffield and certainly very possible that John and Harold were friends, as there was only two years difference in age between them.

The marriage took place ‘by licence’ which meant there was some urgency, probably because Harold was due to embark for France imminently. Harold’s siblings served as witnesses.

He was recorded in the ‘Admissions and Discharge’ register for the 51st Field Ambulance. This record tells us that on 19th October 1917, Harold suffered a mustard gas attack and that he was discharged to a Casualty Clearing Station. Again, the record of what happened to him from this point until he recovered is missing.

The register covers 5 days during which nearly 700 casualties were recorded

There is a good explanation of the organisation that dealt with casualties here

Harold recovered and returned to the Front. He was killed in action on 12th April 1918 and is buried at the Roclincourt Military Cemetery between Arras and Lens.

In Fulwood Graveyard, there is a headstone marking the grave of Harold’s parents. This has the inscription:

Also Harold Gresham Dunkerley, Son of above
Killed in action in France, 28th March 1918

(there is a discrepancy in dates between the CWGC record and that on the headstone)

Harold is also recorded on the memorial at St. Stephen’s Church, Netherthorpe. This may indicate where Harold and Margaret had established their marital home.

Margaret remarried in 1923 at West Derby. Her second husband was Reginald Bell. By 1939 they were living in Chester.