Harry Swain was born in Stockport in 1881, his parents being Henry & Clara. At the time they lived in the Brinnington district of the town. His father was a cotton spinner which would explain the family's move to Royton by the middle of the decade. A second child, Ernest, was born in Royton in 1884. On February 18th 1901, 19 year old Harry married Hannah Howarth (18) at St.Paul's and they set up home at 128 Oldham Road. Together Harry & Hannah had three daughters, Doris (born 1903), Clara (1906) & Edith (1908).
By the outbreak of war the Swains were living at 17 Boundary Street in the Longsight area of Royton and Harry was working as a spinner at the United Mill in Oldham. When war broke out he signed up in either August or September of 1914 and was originally with the Manchester Regiment (service number 4526). He landed in France on June 3rd 1915 as a member of the The King's Liverpool Regiment, having been transferred as that regiment's 4th Battalion required a draft of reinforcements. The 4th King's had suffered heavy losses during the Second Battle of Ypres. During Harry's first weeks with the battalion they spent their time in the front line near Neuve Chapelle working hard to strengthen the defensive positions - 30,000 new sand bags were used on renewing and repairing the parapets whilst they also installed new wire entanglements, dug support & communication trenches and also dugouts. The remainder of 1915 saw them in and out of the front line with no major engagements apart from the usual trench life of coming under shellfire, the occasional raiding party and also sniper fire.
The new year found Harry splitting time between front line duties in a position known as Hun Street or in billets at Locon. Then on February 29th the battalion went into the trenches near Cambrin, taking over a sector from the 19th Royal Fusiliers. The weather was snowy and cold and the lot of the men was a muddy and miserable one. The following day Harry was killed, he gets a mention in the unit war diary but no detail as to how he died just that he was killed in action. No other man of the 4th Battalion was killed or injured that day.
Harry's widow, Hannah remarried later that year to a Mark Simpson at St.Anne's Church. It appears the family moved after that to Oldham
Date of Death:01/03/1916
Regiment:The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Cemetery:Cambrin Churchyard Extension