Harry Richard 'Hank' Lee

August 1, 2017

Earlier this year I read about the 'Adopt a US Tommy' program. I was immediately interested in this program, since it was connected to the Flanders Field American cemetery adoption program. In this new program people can adopt the graves or names of the missing of American soldiers that fought for a Commonwealth country. For a moment I doubted since I have many adoption graves by now, but in the end I was convinced on adopting another one. This is the life story of Harry Richard Lee.


Adoption certificate




Before the war

Harry was born in Halstad, Norman County, Minnesota (USA) on November 24, 1896. He was the son of Robert and Bertha Lee. Harry had 6 sisters and 4 brothers. Harry's parents were born in Norway. His father changed his name from Lie to Lee when he was in the USA.


Minnesota, USA


Halstad, Norman County


Harry grew up in Tacoma, Washington. In 1910, the family moved to Iddlesleigh, Alberta, Canada. Robert and Bertha Lee moved back to Tacoma, Washington in 1923.

Washington, USA


Tacoma, Washington


Alberta, Canada


Iddlesleigh, Cypress county


When Harry enlisted for the Canadian Army, he lived in Iddlesleigh in Alberta, Canada. He worked as a farmer and had no wife or children.

Still looking for more information.



In the army

Private Harry Lee enlisted on April 11, 1916 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, though he was born in the USA.

Harry first served in the 175th Battalion, also based in Medicine Hat.They began recruiting in 1915 and Harry enlisted one year later. The Battalion sailed to England in October 1916 where they arrived on the 13th, on board of the SS Saxonia.


The SS Saxonia


After arriving in England, the Battalion was transported to the Signalling Base in Seaford where they were taken on strength on November 10, 1916. They returned to the 175th Battalion on December 30, 1916.

On January 10, 1917 the 175th was absorbed into the 21st Reserve Battalion and were sent on Command to the Canadian Army Service Corps in Seaford on March 7, 1917. They returned from Command on March 22, 1917 and were sent to Camp Bramshott. On September 10, 1917 the 21st Reserve Battalion was absorbed into the 50th Battalion.


Service Record


In the casualty form we can see Harry was in Etaples on September 10, 1917, about 1,5 month before he went missing. Here they were trained for the upcoming Battle of Passchendaele. It was in this period that riots broke out in Etaples, but there's no information that Harry Lee was part of it in any way.

Still looking for more information.




Death of Harry Lee

Harry went missing on October 26, 1917 and is declared dead on this day. He died during an attack south west of Passchendaele during the well-known Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium.

Harry rests somewhere in Flanders Fields or is buried under an unnamed marker. His name is remembered on the Menin Gate in Ypres on Panel 24-28-30.


Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium


Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium





Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), 50th Battalion


Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment)


50th Battalion


Private


More information soon.



Contact

It took me a long time to find more information, a picture and relatives of Private Lee. But in February of 2020 all suddencly went fast when I somehow found an Ancestry tree with Harry's name in it. I received an e-mail from Marilyn Moe Walton, Harry was her Great Uncle.

Through Marilyn I have now met more relatives, Tracy and Eleanor Weber. I'm glad and honoured to have finally found people who are related to this man whose name I remember on the Menin Gate in Ypres.



Personal information

Private, Canadian Army
Service # 696691
50th Battalion, Canadian Infantry
Entered service from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada on April 11, 1916

Born: November 24, 1896, Halstad, Norman County, Minnesota, United States
Hometown: Iddlesleigh, Alberta, Canada

Died: October 26, 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele
Status: missing in action (MIA)

Buried: Menin Gate, Memorial to the Missing, Panel 24-28-30, Ypres, Belgium
Awards: /

Family
Father: Robert Gerhard Lee (1858-1950)
Mother: Berte Halvorsen (Bertha) Stigen (1858-1928)
Brothers:Howard Martin (1888-1973), Palmer Victor (1891-1958), Benjamin (1893-1957), James Dewey (1901-1963)
Sisters: Theoline Caroline (1879-1959), Clara Justine (1883-1952), Emma Pauline (1885-1943), Wanda Patrina (1890-1956), Benora Olga (1897-1973), Ruth (1899-1963)



More pictures









Sources

www.cwgc.org
www.findagrave.com
Veteran Affairs Canada
Andi Hunting
Ancestry
Marilyn Moe Walton
Tracy Weber
Eleanor Weber
Attestation paper
CEF Personnel Files



Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (nicklieten at hotmail.com). Thank you!