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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Purkis, H S

Basra Memorial, Iraq

Basra War Cemetery & Memorial, Nasiriyah, Iraq

Commemorated on Halkett Place Primary School Memorial
Commemorated on St Helier Parish Church Memorial

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Monday 9 November 1914

Mr H S Purkis a popular teacher at the Don Street School left the Island this morning to join the Hampshire Regiment. We wish this patriotic Jersey lad the best of luck and a safe return.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Friday 12 May 1916

A Popular Jersey Teacher Wounded and a Prisoner. Some months ago Mr Purkis of the GPO received news that his son H S Purkis, a well known and popular member of the teaching staff of the National School who joined the forces and proceeded to India shortly after the outbreak of war, was reported missing in Mesopotamia. During the last few weeks the relatives have been anxiously awaiting further tidings, but their anxiety has now been relieved by the official news received here yesterday that this loyal soldier is wounded and a prisoner in Baghdad. This news was communicated yesterday by Mr T Addison to the boys of the National School and was received with lusty cheers. We sincerely hope that this soldier will rapidly recover from his wounds and at the close of the war be able to take up his former profession.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 20 September 1916

Roll of Honour. The relatives of Private H Purkis, formerly Assistant Head Master at the Jersey National School, have been officially notified of the death of their son from disease. The date and place of death, as well as the nature of the disease, are not known. The deceased was at Kut with General Townshend and was made prisoner when the gallant garrison surrendered. The news was communicated to the scholars by Mr Thomas Addison who referred in glowing terms to the valued assistance he had always received from Mr Purkis. He was at one time a member of the Old Nationals Football Club and was a highly respected member of the YMCA. We offer our sympathy to the members of the family.


Henry Samuel Purkis

Private Henry Samuel Purkis
1st/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment

Son of Harry John & Alice Mary Purkis (nee Medder) of Liverpool.

Died, aged 25 years, of dysentry following wounds whilst a Prisoner of War

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Monday 16 October 1916

The Late Private H S Purkis - In Memoriam Service. An in memoriam service for the late Private H S Purkis was held yesterday afternoon at St Helier Parish Church. A large congregation was present, this including several members of the bereaved family and a number of acquaintances and friends of the late soldier who was held in the highest esteem and regard by all he had come into contact with. It will be remembered that Private Purkis was formerly an Assistant Master at St Helier Don Street School and by his close attention to his duties and his courteous disposition and high character he had won the esteem of the Headmaster, Mr T Addison, and staff whilst the scholars had always looked upon him as a true friend. When off duty he took the greatest of interest in the boys welfare and had been one of the principal promoters of the Schools Football League, which up to the outbreak of war was such a flourishing concern. He had also interested himself in many other societies for the good of the rising generation and of him it might truthfully be said "he went about doing good". At the outbreak of hostilities he gave up a promising career and though at first he met with little encouragement he eventually was able to join the Hampshire Regiment. He proceeded to Mesopotamia and took part in the defence of Kut al Amarah, which though a defeat for our Army will always remain one of the most glorious pages in our history. To the great regret of his friends the news came through that Private Purkis was missing and after a long period of anxiety the more favourable information was received that he was a prisoner in the hands of the Turks, but unfortunately later news stated that he had died from the disease which has carried off so many of his countrymen who took part in that campaign. The congregation present at the Parish Church yesterday afternoon was representative of all classes of society and the service, which was impressive all through, was conducted by the Very Reverend the Dean and the Reverend L C Burgess. The address given by the Dean was brief but was a most telling tribute to the grand example left by the late teacher and soldier. Having spoken of the splendid work done by the late Mr Purkis for the Don Street School, St Helier Parish Church Sunday School and Choir and of his great interest in football for the lads and in the YMCA, the Dean said he was about to give them what he believed was the message their late brother would have wished to be delivered at that service. "If Purkis could speak to you at this moment he would tell you that every young man who is physically fit and who can do so, should follow his example, that his duty is not here but away where can perform a much larger service than can possibly be offered here" said the Dean, and he continued "Purkis, like so many scores of Jerseymen and so many thousands of our fellow Britishers has given his life for his Country, we look to them now and we thank them for what they have done". In closing the speaker referred to the value of a well spent life, it being not so much how long a man lived but what he managed to get into that life before he left it. Concluding the Dean said that even in death we were not separated for we were still members of one great family, hence the reason that we prayed for our gallant heroes.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record


Basra pictures courtesy of Sidney Clark and Richard Leigh