Earl Harwin was born on 23rd February 1894 in Sprowston, Norfolk. His parents were John and Alice Harwin (nee Grix). His father was a gardener when he married. In 1901 John and Alice were living with John’s brother Edward in Topcroft, Norfolk and working on his brother’s farm.
Earl was living with his paternal grandmother in Saxlingham Nethergate His grandmother Emily Harwin had remarried after the death of her husband and was living with her second husband, Edward Wiseman in Shotesham Lane, Saxlingham Nethergate. He was a market gardener.
His mother died in 1903 and he continued to live with his grandmother.
In 1911 Earl was working as a farm labourer and was living with his step grandfather and his grandmother in Saxlingham. His father John was also living there and was registered as being totally blind.
When war broke out Earl was not originally accepted for training. He however eventually joined the Norfolk Yeomanry. His service number was 2472. His service records have not survived but he must have enlisted before February 1917 as after that date the Norfolk Yeomanry became the 12th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. After that date his service number was 320356.
The Norfolk Yeomanry sailed for Gallipoli in September 1915. It was involved in the trench warfare in the peninsula. There was little fighting but many men suffered from dysentery and other diseases. In November they endured a terrible blizzard and the trenches became filled with water. Many men suffered from exposure. By the middle of December it was decided to retreat from the area and the regiment moved to Mudros and then to Egypt. Here they were involved with defending the Suez Canal and then became part of a Coastal Force at Sollum.
In February 1917 they became the 12th Battalion and served in Palestine until April 1918 when they were sent to France as reinforcements on the Western Front. They remained there till the end of the war.
At the end of the war he returned to Norfolk and in 1919 married Agnes Violet Cooper from Tibenham. She was born 24 August 1899.
They had 10 children.
Earl Sidney born 1920
Cecil R born 1921 died 1922
Cecilia Vera born 1923
Victor William born 1924
Clarence Stanley born 1927
Joyce W born 1929
Sidney born 1931 died 1931
Kenneth Edwin born 4 September 1934
Rita born 1936
Joan born 1940
He did not live in Saxlingham Nethergate. It is known that he lived at Bridge Cottages, Hempnall in 1923 and at other various locations in Norfolk during the following years. His father lived with him, probably as he was incapacitated with being blind.
In 1939 Earl was working as a farm steward at Moulton St. Michael, Norfolk. He was living with his wife and five children.
Agnes died in 1975. Earl died the 1 October 1979 in All Hallows Hospital, Ditchingham , Norfolk.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005
UK Census Collection
British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920
1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk
Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)
St Mary’s Church Saxlingham Marriage records (transcribed by Mary Muir)
The History of the Norfolk Regiment. Vol.II. – F. Loraine Petre. Norwich: Jarrold and Son Ltd. The Empire Press
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