Some say, our life’s and death’s are planned out for us, the day we are born, that fate/destiny is the controlling factor.
Some say, your life is what you make it.
Neither can ever be proven, well not as far as I can see but I do believe fate plays the larger hand and with a blink of an eye, it can change to something unrecognisable.
No matter what you believe, Life, no matter how long or short, is a precious gift, to be cherished and remembered.
This weeks ancestors life was incredibly short, and one that I believe fate had a huge part to play.
Was his life cut short to save his soul from the horrors he could have encountered later in life? Or was he traveling down the wrong road, a different road to what destiny already had mapped out for him?
I’ll let you decide and I would love to hear your views.
Harry Ashley Willats, my 1st cousin 4x removed, was born on May the 3rd 1889, at Cliftonville Hotel, Margate, Kent, England, to Henry Richard Willats and Amelia Willats nee Etheredge.
Harry’s father Henry, was working as the manager of the, Cliftonville Hotel, Margate, Kent, England.
Harry’s mother Amelia registered his birth on the 25th June 1889.
Her residence was listed as Cliftonville Hotel.
The 1891 census finds Harry, his father Henry, mother Amelia and his two sisters, Mabel and Florence Willats residing at the Cliftonville Hotel, Margate.
Henry was working as the Hotel Manager and Amelia as a Housekeeper.
Jumping forward 10 years to the 1901 census, which was taken on the 21st March 1901, we find Harry residing as a pupil at, Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, 20 Maidstone Road, Rochester, Kent, England.
Once again we jump forward 10 years to the 2nd April 1911, the census finds Harry, Henry, Amelia, Florence and Mabel residing at 22 Bolton Street, St George Hanover Square, London, England. They had one servant named Otto Herbert and a lodger named Frank Lionel Farrer living with them.
Harry was working as a Clerk on the Stock Exchange.
Henry was still working as Hotel Manager, Amelia as a, Apartment House Keeper.
In September 1914, Harry Joined the Army Service Corps, upon the nomination of Colonel Sir Edward Ward, Harry was transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery Cadets Corps, at Lords. He passed out with great credit, being complimented by the Colonel commanding.
While going through a gunnery course at Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, Harry contracted a chill, which ended fatally.
On the 12th February 1917, 2nd Lieutenant Harry Ashley Willats, died at the age of 27, at Hemingfold, Battle, East Sussex, England.
Cause of death was from, Nephritis, inflammation on the Kidneys and Uremia, urea in the blood.
His brother in-law, William Western-Thornton, registered his death on the 15th February 1917.
Harry was looked upon by his Commanding Officer, as a most promising young officer and at the request of Colonel F C Bailey, Royal Horse Artillery, Harry was given a full Military funeral.
Harry’s remains were taken to the Cadet College at Lords and he was laid to rest at, Abney Park Cemetery, in their family vault, with his sister, Florence Jöse Western-Thornton nee Willats, who died scarcely three weeks before Harry.
2nd Lieutenant, Harry Ashley Willats, funeral was largely attended with friends traveling a distance to pay their respects to a popular officer.
Harry was buried on the 17th February 1917, in grave number 127402, possibly renumbered as 17402. Grave location J10.
Harry’s medal card.
Another Battle Soldier Dies.
Although he never died in battle, this brave man gave his life for his country, he gave up his future to serve his country. It gives me an overwhelming sense of pride to know he was ready to give his all for our freedom but also an ache deep within my heart, knowing, he never got to fall in love, never got to marry and have children.
Just knowing the beginning to his end, started in fields not far from where I live and from where I sit remembering his short life and all that was lost because of his death.
Our Hero stood so desperately close but so very far away.
Never to be forgotten,
Harry Ashley Willats
1889 – 1917
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