A House History Story - Harry Taverner

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Early in 1914 a young man, Harry Taverner, walked out of his home at 3 Emlyn Road HarryTaverner smallon his way to enlist in the Queen Victoria Rifles, County of London Battalion. The recruitment office was in the old Drill Hall on Stamford Brook Common, where the territorial army building now stands. Within a year Harry Taverner would be dead, succumbing to his wounds in a casualty station at Ypres as the Victoria Rifles bore the brunt of the fighting at Hill 60.

Harry left behind a grieving mother, Eliza, in Stamford Brook. She had lived here with her sister Mary Elizabeth Kerchmayr for over a decade. Mary was the widow of a portrait painter, Cherubino Kerchmayr, who had moved to Chiswick from his native Venice. Mary and Cherubino had lived in Bedford Park till his death in 1903.

As young women, Mary and Eliza had worked together in the Surrey home of Robert Whitehead, the industrialist and inventor of the naval torpedo. He had made his fortune with a Naval factory in Trieste.  One of Whitehead’s grandchildren, Agathe, whom Mary and Eliza had looked after as a child, married one of her father’s clients in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. He was a young man called Georg Von Trapp and they went on to have seven children before her early death at the end of the First World War….and the rest, of course, you know.

Back in London, the aftermath of WW1 led to a period of national mourning, and the formation of the Imperial War Graves Commission to create a series of memorials to the vast number of war dead. In Stamford Brook, Harry Taverner’s older brother George later arranged for the inscription “Greater Love has no Man” to be placed on his memorial stone in the Old Military Cemetery at Poperinghe where Harry now lies.

 

See Harry Taverner's entry on the St Michaels WW1 Project www.smaaawwi.org.uk/wwi/l-cpl-h-a-b-w-taverner/