Harry was born in 1889, the son of Harry and Ada Royal. The records disagree as to his birthplace, which may be either Brandon or Hockwold cum Wilton. In 1891 Harry senior was a shepherd living in Town Street, Brandon. Ten years later the family had moved to Fengate and his occupation is described as "rabbit digger".

In 1911 the Royals were living in 2 The Row, and both father and son were warreners.

The Thetford and Watton Times of Saturday September 12th 1914 recorded that Harry Royal was In Kitchener's Army. One month later it added the information that he was in the Essex Regiment.

Thetford and Watton Times November 4th 1916

On Friday a field postcard was received by Mr & Mrs Royal, the Lodge, informing them that their son, Corporal Harry Royal was wounded in the nose and one cheek. He is in the Essex Regiment and is now in the Edinburgh War Hospital, Bangor West Lothian.

Harry then changed regiment as the next we hear is:

Thetford and Watton Times July 21st 1917

Sergt Harry Royal, Border Regiment, son of Mr & Mrs H Royal, Village Lodge, Weeting, has written to his parents stating that he was wounded on the 10th.
Last November he was wounded in the face when a piece of shrapnel was extricated.

Returning to France, Harry's bravery and leadership were recognised by the award of a Distinguished Conduct Medal:

The London Gazette 2 September 1919

28212 Sjt. H. ROYAL 1/5th Bn TF (Brandon, Suffolk) From 25th February to 16th/17th September 1918. Throughout active operations he displayed skill and determination as a platoon serjeant, personally organising patrol work and sending in valuable reports. During the whole period of active operations, for part of which time he was temporarily in command of a platoon, he set a fine example of dash and fearlessness to his men.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

1915 Star

Victory Medal

British War Medal

Silver War Badge

The information presented here has been derived from surviving public and military records as well as from contemporary press reports. We hope you find it of interest ‐ if you think we have made an error, or can add any further details, please get in touch.