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Harry Martin WW1

by Jess Gibby | People, World War One

35244 Private Harry Martin of the 2/4th Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment was the son of George and Frances Martin. He was born in Bishopsteignton in the June Quarter of 1880 and died Thursday 28th November 1918, aged 38 years. He is buried in the Benares Cantonment Cemetery in India.

Early Life

Harry Martin’s birth was registered in the June Quarter of 1880, at Bishopsteignton.[1]

According to the 1881 census, when Harry was 1 year old, he lived with his father George Spear Martin who was a painter and his mother Frances (née Hawkins) who was born in Teignmouth. He had siblings Rose, Arthur and Thomas and they lived at 36, Fore Street, Bishopsteignton.

By 1891 Harry’s father had just died and his mother Frances was a laundress with another four children – Ellen, William, Agnes and Jessie living in the Triangle, Bishopsteignton.

By 1911 Harry was 32 years old, still single and working as a domestic gardener, living with and no doubt supporting his mother (described as a painter’s widow), along with Jessie (a dressmaker).

Military Experience

Harry enlisted at Exeter and joined the Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment with the No 35244 in the 2/4th Battalion. The 2/4th remained on Garrison duties in India in 1916 and in March 1917 moved to the Allahabad Brigade in the 8th (Lucknow) Division.

Death and Burial

It is not known exactly how Harry died but he lost his life on Thursday 28th November 1918 aged 38 years  (or 25th Nov aged 33 years depending on paperwork seen at the Commonwealth War Graves site) and was buried at the Cantonment Cemetery in India. Plot K Grave 16.[2]

The Madras 1914–1918 War Memorial,  is located at the far end  of the cemetery. It carries the names of over 1,039 servicemen who died during the First World War and who lie in many civil and cantonment cemeteries in various parts of India where it is not possible to maintain their graves in perpetuity.[3]


Are you a relative or friend of the Martin family? Do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

  1. Four times a year all the registers for England & Wales were collated into a single countrywide index, arranged alphabetically by surname.

The indexes to the registers are quarterly rather than annual in scope – the four quarters being known as March, June, September and December. Each of these covers the month itself and the two preceding months, as follows:

•January, February, March registrations in the March quarter
•April, May, June registrations in the June quarter
•July, August, September registrations in the September quarter
•October, November, December registrations in the December