Kenneth Tucker Harben

Rank Second Lieutenant
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 09/08/1918
Age 19
Regiment/Service London Regt. (London Rifle Brigade) 5th Bn.
Cemetery Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension. It is located 24 kms east of Amiens, France. The communual cemetery contains 249 1st World War burials, the extension 918.

 

Kenneth was born on 11th December 1898 to Norman (1869–1934) and Bertha Emma, nee Tucker, (1874–1944) Harben of 83, Station Road, Finchley. He had three siblings: Norman (1898-1947), Benjamin (1909-1981) and one who died before the 1911 Census.

At the time of the 1901 Census, Kenneth was living with his mother, Norman and two female servants at 263, Birchfield Road, Handsworth, West Bromwich.

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family and one general, domestic servant were living at "Cheriton," 12 Clifton Avenue, Finchley. Kenneth’s parents been married for 14 years and he was a pupil at Christ’s College, Finchley, where he was a member of the Combined Cadet Force. His father’s occupation is listed as ‘Merchant Provision’. It seems he was a partner of a wholesale provision merchant called Harben & Co, whose offices were at Old Swan Lane, Upper Thames Street, London EC4. Ralph Harben and Norman Harben were listed on the firm’s letter head so were the likely proprietors.

Kenneth signed a short service attestation to join the army reserve at Wood Green on 11th August 1916 when he was aged 17 years and 8 months. At that time he was working as an actuarial clerk. On 7th February 1917 he was mobilised and posted to the London Regiment (reserve) and on 5th October 1917 he transferred to the Officer Cadet Battalion at Kimnel Park, Rhyl, North Wales. While there his standard of education, military knowledge, power of command and leadership was rated as very good. He was considered to have done very good work throughout the course and be smart and efficient.

On 7 February 1918, Kenneth was based at the Mill Hill barracks. On 27th February 1918 he was at the Aisne barracks, Blackdown, near Deepcut in Surrey. On 26th March 1918 he joined the 5th Battalion of the London Regiment and was promoted from Lance Corporal to Second Lieutenant. The next day he embarked for France.

Kenneth died in the 2/3rd Home Counties field ambulance, a mobile front line medical unit manned by the Royal Army Medical Corps. from wounds received in action. Among the personal effects that were returned to his family was a bible. He is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery along with Captain James Tully, a former master of Christ’s College, who took over control of the Rifle Club in 1910 and became the first Officer Commanding in 1912. He served in the 7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and died of wounds in 1916 at the age of 33.