First World War Roll of Honour
Gerald Harmer was the only son of Mr. Francis Gerald Harmer, Headmaster of the Cockburn High School, Leeds and his wife Julia. He was born in the summer of 1895 and attended Bradford Grammar School from 1907-1914. In his final year he was Secretary of the (rugby) Football XV, and one of the football officers for his House. He studied Greek, Scripture, English and History before gaining a scholarship to Downing in 1914, where surviving records suggest he was studying medicine. He appeared in the matriculation photograph taken in October 1914, shortly before he obtained his commission in December 1914.
Matriculation photograph, 1914 (Harmer seated 3rd from right, front row). Downing College Archive.
Harmer was a 2nd Lieut. in the 9th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. His battalion went to France on 29th July 1915, although he did not join them until the following April after completing his training. 2nd Lieutenant Harmer was killed in action on 11th August 1916. On the night of the 10th August, according to the battalion’s War Diary,
“A Company went forward to dig, if possible, a new communication trench from our front line to the old German Intermediate line taken by us. Coming under heavy machine gun fire immediately they left the trench they had to abandon it, and spent some hours enlarging and deepening saps from the front line. Second Lieutenant Harmer was killed and three other ranks wounded.”
He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing (Pier and Face 14B and 14C).
Obituary in the College magazine, ‘The Griffin’, Michaelmas 1916.
Top image courtesy of Bradford Grammar School.