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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

Harry Van Trump

Lance Corporal Harry Van Trump - this picture was taken shortly before he died in 1916.


Name: Harry Van Trump

Rank: Lance Corporal

Service Number: 256

Regiment: Royal Fusiliers

Battalion/Unit number: 22nd Battalion

Date/year of Birth: 1881/2

Place of Birth: ?

Date of Death: 23/05/1916

Place of Death: Vimy

Burial/Memorial: Zouave Valley Cemetery, Souchez

Henry "Harry" Van Trump (occasionally named "Van Tromp") was killed in action on 23rd May 1916 at Vimy Ridge aged 34.  His father, Henry Joseph Van Trump, was Mayor of Taunton from 1916-20 and ran the Tonevale Manufacturing Company, a shirt and collar factory on St Augustine Street.  He had served in the Boer War, having lied about his age in 1899 in order to sign up for the West Somerset Imperial Yeomanry.  More adventure followed later in life when on 6th May 1914 he was a passenger with the French aviator Salmet who intended to fly an air display over Watchet harbour, but after an engine failure crashed into the Bristol Channel a mile from shore.  The unruffled Van Trump was heard to say "it was a bit of an experience".

On the outbreak of war he quickly re-enlisted, signing up with the Royal Fusiliers 22nd "Kensington" Battalion.  The Battalion was sent out to France in November 1915.  Following Lance Corporal Van Trump's death, his father was sent the following letter:

"Dear Sir,- I am very sorry to have to announce to you the death of your son. He was killed in action on the Vimy Ridge on the night of the 23rd. He was a most gallant fellow, and liked by everyone, so we shall all miss him immensely. His company actually captured the German trenches. I personally knew him very well and so feel his loss more than anyone else. He was killed instantaneously which is a great comfort. I cannot speak enough of his coolness and gallantry. To you the loss is irreparable, I can do nothing in the way to lessen your sorrow. We soldiers all have to go through with it and its the example of heroes like your son that make us follow in the same cool, gallant manner. You have my deepest sympathy.- Yours Truly, R. Barnett Baker Lieut.-Colonel, Commanding 22nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers."


Henry Joseph Van Trump, Mayor of Taunton 1916-20


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