Harry Basil Wick
Served with Essex County Constabulary from May 20, 1912 and died on Dec 28, 1915.
Harry Basil Wick, who was born in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire, joined Essex Constabulary as Constable 513 on May 20, 1912. A single man, he served with the force for three years before volunteering for Military Service at Colchester on June 1, 1915, when he enlisted with 19th Battalion Royal Fusiliers as Private PS/7602.
The 19th Battalion Royal Fusiliers had a short existence and saw little action on the Western Front. It was one of the Public School Battalions formed in the latter part of 1914. The origin goes back to August 26, 1914, when a letter appeared in The Times, under the signature of 'Eight Unattached', calling for men of similar age and background to meet and create a 'Legion of Marksmen'. In the event the 'Eight Unattached' joined the 10th City of London Battalion prior to the meeting but, undeterred, others agreed to form a Brigade, 5,000 strong, of old Public School and University men. Recruiting offices were opened throughout the country and within eleven days 5,000 men had been recruited. They made up 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Royal Fusiliers.
Given the background of those recruited many would have been good material for a commission and during 1915 a number were transferred to other battalions. It was not till November 1915, that the 'University and Public Schools Brigade (U.P.S.)' moved to France and had a short experience of trench warfare in the area close to the La Bassee Canal. With a continued demand for officers the 16th, 19th and 21st Battalions Royal Fusiliers were disbanded in April 1916.
It is not know whether Harry Wick attended Public School or University and enlisted with the 19th Battalion for that reason or whether, when he enlisted, the battalion had already lost a number of men as transferees to other units and Harry was one of those recruited to build up the battalion strength. After his recruitment at the end of May 1915, he joined his battalion and moved out to France with them in November of that year. His war was short, having entered the trenches near to the La Bassee Canal he died on December 28, 1915. Harry may have been killed in action on that day or could have been mortally wounded some days earlier and moved back to the dressing station at Cuinchy which was located close to the site of what is now Woburn Abbey Cemetery.
Harry Wick is buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais in grave 1. D. 16. The cemetery, which is enclosed by a low rubble wall, is situated on a quiet road south-west of the village of Cuincy towards the village of Cambrin. A small housing estate has now been built to the west of the cemetery. Over 550 First World War casualties are commemorated within the cemetery.
On March 1, 1916, the Chief Constable reported to the Police Authority: 'Pc Wick, who joined the Army as a volunteer on 1st June, 1915, was killed in action on 28th December, 1915. He was unmarried.'
Harry Wick is also commemorated on the war memorial located in front of the village church at Duxford, Cambridgeshire and on the memorial in the churchyard at Great Eversden, Cambridgeshire.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not here, I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle Autumn rain.
Lance Bombadier Stephen Cummins
(32nd Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery.)