Major Frank Northey Harston MC was killed in action on 22nd April 1918 serving with the 11th Brigade, East Lancashire Regiment. He was born in Blatchinworth, Rochdale, Lancashire in 1890 and was the second of the three sons of parents John Edwin (HM Inspector of Factories) and Bessie Anne Northey (née Plucknett) who had married in Devon in 1886. The youngest son, Lionel Brunyee Harston (1893-1894), died as an infant.
The two surviving children, Frank and his elder brother, Thomas Brunyee Harston (1888-1951), attended Highfield Preparatory School in Southampton, where they were both recorded as boarders in 1901. Frank is known to have gone on to attend Eastbourne College where, as at Highfield, he became head of the school. He also played cricket for the Eastbourne College XI
By 1911, the family had moved to Lewisham, London and Frank was recorded, aged 20, as a student. He had won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he obtained first-class Classical honours. In 1913, the family moved to Elmwood, Olton, and it seems that John Edwin Harston was Commissioner for National Service for the Midland Division, based in Birmingham. He was awarded the OBE by King George V in the Birthday Honours 1918.
On the outbreak of war he joined the Public Schools Brigade, but was gazetted temporary Second Lieutenant in September 1914, being posted to a service battalion with Leicestershire Regiment and proceeding to France in July 1915. In February 1917 he was promoted and appointed brigade major of an infantry brigade, in which capacity he was serving at the time of his death. He was twice mentioned in despatches, and was awarded the Military Cross in May 1917. His brother, Thomas, is also known to have served as a Captain in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment).
Major Frank Northey Harston is buried at Gonneheim British Cemetery, and is also commemorated on Olton war memorial.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
Leave a Reply