capt E J harrington - ww1

This page is dedicated to the exploits of Capt Edwyn Harrington of the 2nd City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) in the Great War.

Along with items from his personal collection we were also able to draw on information from a book written by a Major W E Grey who wanted to compile an accurate story of the regiments 4 battalions during the war for preservation, as a compliment to the war diaries. Capt Harrington was mentioned on a few occasions in the book and you will find those extracts here. The only thing to add is the book dropped an ‘r’ from his name and he is referred to as ‘Capt Harington’!  

Call up announced in the London Gazette on 28 August 1914

First entry in the book was in a list of Officers bound for Malta to be fully trained for active service.

The group marched to Waterloo Station on 3rd September 1914, amid scenes of indescribable enthusiasm, and caught the train to Southampton arriving in the early morning of the 4th. Later that day they embarked on the British India H.T Nevasa and set sail. Shortly before dawn on 13th September they  were off the harbour of Valletta.

Smart fresh faced man and pictures of him with his men in Malta.

During February 1915 he was appointed Brigade Bombing Officer and left the battalion for a number of months. 

It was during this time as Bombing Officer Capt Harrington used his engineering background to come up with a design that would make bombing more effective (full details unknown). 

The idea was very well received by G.H.Q Home Forces as the letter opposite attests. The only issue was cost (some things never change!) but the hope was the application would be successful (don’t know if it was).

May 1918 and Capt Harrington took command of ‘A’ Company in France.

Note, in the second paragraph, mention of the influenza epidemic making its first appearance. The ‘Covid’ of 1918!! 

Various pictures of Capt Harrington and his men. The first picture is a postcard he sent to his mother (not dated) where he references a picture of the corporals in his company, the second picture below.

This was another great find. Capt Harrington was responsible for the accounts of the mess. Here are the receipts and expenditure for the ‘No Man’s Land Bombing Saloon’!! 

He has great handwriting, and it is no wonder they all smoked, 2000 ciggies for £40!!

It has faded slightly but still in good condition seeing as it is nearly 105 years old at the time of writing this.

A battle hardened Capt Harrington outside his tent.
In the Communication Trench, Armentieres, France. February 1915
Marching with his men through Ypres Square.

The regiment took a major role in the Second Battle of Arras. On the 27th August 1918, Capt Harrington led ‘A’ Company as they took the right flank for the attack. Note in the text of the first picture below, there was a point at which they were exposed to attack themselves but the enemy failed to take advantage.

It was during this operation that Capt Harrington was wounded along with 12 other Officers. He received a bullet that passed through one cheek and out the other!!

Wyn sent a Field Service postcard to his future wife. Margaret Whelan was living in Chelsea and would received this around 29 August 1918.

You can see from the back of the card, words were not allowed. It was simply multiple choice!

I like the fact he was ‘going on well‘ despite being shot through the face!

It was also reported in the newspaper, no idea which one, I assume it was a local paper covering Ealing.

Here is Wyn in Bristol hospital. The face is fully bandaged and you will note he has a ciggie on the go!!

We then see him fully recovered and getting ready to be discharged. Although it was never a full recovery, his lungs had been damaged by the war and Doctors advised that he should move out of London and live in the countryside, hence he and Margaret ended up in Wisbech.

His war efforts did not go un-noticed.

He got a mention in dispatches and a letter of thanks from the Chairman of the Military Education Committee earlier in 1918.