Henry is not remembered on the war memorial at Christchurch Park.
Images courtesy of Julie Brason.
Born: 25th March 1915, Ipswich.
Died: 19th February 1942; age 26; lost at sea on board M.V. ‘Empire Comet.’
Employed: as a Warehouseman – Grocer.
Rank: Gunner – Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships Gunner; Service Number: 1592911.
Regiment: Royal Artillery, 7/4 Maritime Regiment.
Panel 77 Column 3.
Father: George Frederick Harper, born September 1866, Ipswich.
Mother: Jane Anne S. Harper (nee Cook), born 1875, Ipswich – died 1935, Ipswich.
Ted at the age of about 10 years, with his mother and sister
ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939.
Henry was a Warehouseman – Grocer. He was living with his widowed father & sister at their family home – 27, Upper Barclay Street, Ipswich.
George, a retired Railway Carriage Fitter.
Doris G. Harper, a Cigarette Machinist, born April 1913, Ipswich.
19th February 1942
The ‘Empire Comet’ was a motor vessel (diesel), built in 1940, by Lithgows Ltd., Glasgow. She was placed under the management of Dodd, Thompson & Co. Ltd., London for the Ministry of War Transport. Port of registry – Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. She was a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship with 8 Royal Artillery Gunners providing protection. On the 7th February 1942 the ‘Empire Comet’ (Master Hector Rayment Willis) sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in Convoy HX 174 bound for Manchester, U.K. A few days into her journey she became detached from the Convoy due to dense fog. On the 19th February 1942 the German U-boat, U-136 (Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Zimmerman) observed ‘Empire Comet’ for a couple of hours before firing at 22:17hrs and hitting her with two torpedoes, 33 miles north of the uninhabited granite islet, Rockall. She went down within 9 minutes, with her stern uppermost followed by heavy detonations from below. All 38 members of the crew lost their lives, Henry was 1 of the 8 gunners lost. There were no survivors.