Private James Norman Harker
Born. Bramley, Leeds, 20/10/1897.
James Norman Harker (Norman) was the only son of William and Emma Harker, of Bramley Leeds.
After education in Bramley where he attended the local Baptist Church he was articled to a firm of Leeds pawnbrokers.
Shortly before the War started the family moved to meanwood where William and Emma took over as licensees of the Primtrose Hotel, this was the address given by Norman when he volunteered to join the “Pals” on 9/10/1914 aged 17 (underage).
Acceptance in to the newly formed Pals battalion appears to have been influenced by Norman’s skill with Morse code, this must have been gained as a member of the Boy Scouts or Church Lads Brigade.
He served as a signaller in no 11 section, 3 platoon, A Company at Colsterdale, Egypt and France.
When the Pals attacked Serre on 1st of July 1916 Norman was wounded in the right leg and after treatment and recovery was transferred to the Royal Engineers with whom he served with until February 1918. When captured by the Germans and made a POW, he always maintained that his survival in the German POW camp was due to the kindness of a young German boy who at great personal risk smuggled eggs and other bits of food into the camp.
After repatriation at the Wars end and discharge on 16/3/1919, he took a clerical job in the office of Musgrove and Sager at their Marlborough Street Brewery, where he worked weekdays in the office and travelled as company sales representative at weekends. His marriage in 1928 to Gladys Lilley was blessed one year later with the birth of their only child, a daughter.
From 1939 to 1945 during the Second World War, he served as an Air Raid Warden after work, in the local ARP. After the war he continued to work for Musgrave and Sager, ending his working days as Company secretary & Manager, a position he held until his untimely death in 1955, Aged 58. Having spent 37 years with the same company.
With special thanks to Norman’s daughter Audrey Morris, for donating photographs and providing
the family background.