- Tyne Cot Cemetery
- Plot: L
- Row: B
- Grave: 6
Distinctions and medals
Harry Pinches was born in 1887 in Wordsley, Staffordshire. According to the 1911 Census he worked as a Glass Cutter, while living at Belle Vue no. 1 in Wordsley. Harry was married to Lily Chamberlain. They had three children. Two daughters, Hilda and May, and one son, named Harry. Harry was possibly drafted in 1916 and by the time of the Battle of Passchendaele he was serving with the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment), 1/7th Battalion, part of the 167th Brigade, of the 56th (1st London) Division.
On 16 August 1917 the 1/7th Middlesex participated in the Battle of Langemark, a phase of the Passchendaele offensive. The objective of the attack was to establish positions on the western edge of Polygon Wood. At first the attack seemed to go well, but the advance was soon checked by determined German resistance. The 1/7th Middlesex was in reserve, but to support the attack both “A” and “D” Companies were ordered forward. To no avail. At 1 p.m. it was reported that all attacking parties had been forced back, having suffered heavy casualties while retreating through the German shell fire.
When the Germans launched a counter-attack around 5 p.m. the rest of the Battalion was sent to the Westhoek Ridge. They were to hold the ridge at all cost. The German attack did not develop, but the Battalion had been exposed to heavy German shell fire, while holding positions near the hamlet of Westhoek on the Westhoek Ridge.
Private Harry Pinches was one of the many men who lost their lives on the Westhoek Ridge. The thirty-year-old was killed in action on 16 August 1917, leaving behind a young family. Harry was buried by his comrades in a grave near Westhoek. His remains were exhumed after the war and interred in Tyne Cot Cemetery Plot L Row B Grave 6, where Harry still rests today.