HARMER Lester James

Category: Military
Rank: Private
Regiment or Ship: Machine Gun Corps
Service Number(s): 46881
Date of Birth: 17.03.1897
Place of Birth: Bexhill, Sussex
Date of Death: 27.04.1981
Place of Death: Hastings District Address: 43 Windsor Road, Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Parents:          Frederick Harmer, b. 1862 in Hailsham, Sussex, d. 1932 in Hailsham, and Charlotte Annie Harmer (nee Spray), b. 1865 in Hawkhurst, Kent. Frederick and Charlotte married in 1886.


Frederick George Harmer, b. 1888 in Hailsham. W0248 HARMER Frederick George

Hubert Henry Harmer, b. 1891 in Hailsham. W0249 HARMER Hubert Henry

Ethel Rose Harmer, b. 1892 in Bexhill.

Percy Thomas Harmer, b. 1895 in Bexhill. W0247 HARMER Percy Thomas

Annie May Harmer, b. 1899 in Bexhill, d. 1902.

Frank Henry Harmer, b. 1901 in Bexhill, d. 1901.

Elsie Alexandra Harmer, b. 1903 in Bexhill.

Albert Edward Harmer, b. 1903 in Bexhill.

Cecil Amays Harmer, b. 1909 in Bexhill.

Sometime before 1891 the Harmer family moved from “Mangle House”, Alexandra Terrace, Hailsham, to Windsor Terrace, then 69 Windsor Road (in 1901) and then to 43 Windsor Road by 1911. Frederick went from being an employed fly driver to a self-employed bathchairman.

Frederick Sen.’s parents were Thomas Harmer (1830-1920) and Louisa Harmer – nee Harris – (1833-1898).

Lester married Lois Pratt (1897-1976) on Boxing Day 1925 at St. Barnabus Church, Bexhill.

First World War Experience

Lester joined up in the Army Reserve around 18th December 1915 but, as his service records have not survived, we do not know much about his war years – apart from what we can glean from the local newspapers. He is recorded in the Bexhill Observer dated 27th January 1917, as being wounded but no further details were given at that time.

The next mention of Lester is in an article – again in the Bexhill Observer – dated 7th December 1918 – details of which are recorded below.

“Mr. and Mrs. Harmer of 43, Windsor-road, are in the happy position of having four sons home on leave at the same time. They are: Private F. G. Harmer, A.S.C., from Aldershot; Corporal H. H. Harmer, R.A.F. * Yorkshire; Private P. T. Harmer, The Buffs, home from France, where he had trench fever and underwent an operation; and Private L. J. Harmer, M. G. C. home from France where he was badly wounded and subsequently gassed. They are all well now.”

* Extensive research suggests that R.A.F. was a miss-print and should have been R.F.A. (Royal Field Artillery).

Lester was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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