Born: 1889, Ipswich.
Died: 9th February 1918; age 28; died of illness, at No. 55 Casualty Clearing Station.
Enlistment Location: Colchester, Essex.
Date of Entry Therein: 15th August 1914.
Rank: Private; Service Number: D/1851
Regiment: Household Cavalry & Cavalry of the Line, 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Own).
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star.
1891 Stone Court, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich.
Harry was 2 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Arthur Branch, 31, a Dock Labourer, born Ipswich.
Emma Branch (nee Skinner), 26, a Staymaker, born Layham, Suffolk.
Emma Kate Branch, 6, born Ipswich.
Maud Sarah Branch, 4, born Ipswich.
Lily Emily Branch, 3 months, born Ipswich.
1901 4, Kent’s Yard, Ipswich.
Harry was 11 years old and living with his widowed mother & siblings.
Emma, 34, a Stay Budder – at home.
Bertie Charles Branch, 3, born Ipswich.
Arthur Albert Branch, 2, born Ipswich.
Harry’s father, Arthur Branch was killed on the 18th August 1900, by the explosion of a rocket which he had been toying with.
On the morning of Saturday, 18th August 1900 , Harry’s father 37 year old Arthur, a quay labourer, of 4, Kent’s Yard, Church Street, Ipswich said good-bye to his wife Emma and children as he left to go down to the Quay in anticipation of being employed in unloading a vessel. With the arrival of steamship ‘Etua,’ Arthur was chosen and engaged to work with 13 other men to discharge a vessel laden with timber at Messrs. Palfreman, Foster and Co.’s timber yard, which abuts on the New Cut East, near the landing stage of the Great Eastern Railway Company’s steamers. About half-past ten o’clock the men were waiting for the order to commence when the foreman of the yard, Alfred Simpson, found in one of the timber stacks a signal rocket, which he laid on one side, being too busy to examine it. Arthur immediately took the rocket up, and with his knife he commenced boring a hole in the metal case in which the fuse was inserted. He then tapped the projectile on the wheel of a timber drag, emptying out some white powder. To this he applied a light and the powder flared up. Immediately there was a deafening explosion, like a cannon going off. Arthur was knocked over by the recoil of the rocket, which inflicted terrible wounds over his body; the buckle of his brace was even broken with the force of the explosion. . Portions of the shattered steel case flew about the yard in all directions. Walter Eastly, a quay labourer, of 12, Fore Hamlet, received an injury to his right leg and Samuel Pulham, a ballastman, of 29, Alan Road, felt the metal penetrate his coat sleeve and injure his arm. Arthur staggered over to Samuel Abbott, a quay labourer, of Abbott’s Court, Fore Hamlet, and fell to his knees, with his head upon Samuel’s left arm he spoke his last words, “Saxon (nickname), good-bye, old mate; I am a-dying.” After breathing about five or six times he died from shock to the system and hemorrhage.
AN APPEAL – A fund on behalf of the widow and orphans of the deceased man was opened. Subscriptions were received by the Rev. John Powell, Woodville, Westerfield Road; Mr. Charles Edward Sutton Whitmarsh, 3, Crane’s Wharf, New Cut East; and Mr. Herbert Charles Westgate, Lock Tavern, New Cut East.
No-one knew at the time that Emma Branch was in the early stages of pregnancy with their 6th child – Rosina May Branch.
Rev. John Powell’s son was also lost during WW1. JOHN HAROLD SLADE POWELL.
Soldiers’ Effects to mother – Emma Branch, sisters – Maud S. Branch, Lily E. Branch, Rosina May Branch (born spring 1901, Ipswich) and Emma K. Etheridge (wife of Bernard Edgar Ethridge), and brothers – Arthur A. Branch and Bertie C. Branch.