Harry Walter Abbiss

Personnel header
Captain Harry Walter Abbiss, M.B.E, D.C.M, M.M
Life dates
26 Aug 1891 - 17 Nov 1965
Profile Picture
Profile picture
Biography

At stand down Captain Abbiss was the Area Commander of Groups 1 to 4 Cornwall.

He was commissioned with the rank of officer, to the Royal Engineers according to a reference on the Supplement to the London Gazette on 6 Sept 1939 as H.W. Abbiss, DCM, MM. This is then cancelled 23 Nov 1943. This would fit with him initially being in the Scout Section.

In Dec 1944 he was awarded an MBE (Military Division).

In WW1 Harry Abbiss joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) at Cromer in 1915. Lance Corporal 45510 H.W. Abbiss arrived in France 25 July 1915, gaining the 1915 star. When he was gazetted for his Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on 20 October 1916, Sergeant Abbiss was commended:

"For conspicuous bravery and devotion during lengthy operations in leading and directing his stretcher squads in the open and under very heavy shell fire. On one occasion, when all his men were away carrying the wounded, he continued to dress and attend the wounded during an intense bombardment of an hour and a half, one man being killed while he was in the act of dressing him."

He was awarded a Bar in 1917 and another citation 26 Jan 1918 reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was continually in charge of stretcher bearers throughout the operation under heavy shell fire. He remained on duty night and day for a week and showed great organising abilities and coolness under the most difficult conditions, setting a splendid example to all under him.”

By the end of WW1 he was an acting Staff Sergeant in the RAMC 54th Field Ambulance and was gazetted for a Military Medal on 7 October 1918.

Postings
Unit or location Role Posted from until
Cornwall Group 1 - Lands End Area Area Commander 12 Feb 1941 03 Dec 1944
Cornwall Group 2 - Lizard Area Area Commander 12 Feb 1941 03 Dec 1944
Cornwall Group 3 - Mid-Cornwall Area Commander 12 Feb 1941 03 Dec 1944
Cornwall Group 4 - North Coast Area Commander 12 Feb 1941 03 Dec 1944
Truro Patrol Patrol Leader 20 Jul 1940 12 Feb 1941
Cornwall Group 3 - Mid-Cornwall Group Commander 12 Feb 1941 03 Dec 1944
National ID
WAXN 121/1
Commissioned or Enlisted
July 1940
Occupation

County Horticultural Superintendent

Address
Overstand, 2 Trelawny Road, Truro, Cornwall. Telephone Truro 2427.
Other information

Born in Mickleham, Surry, by 1911 he is a young gardener living in working quarters at The Gardens, Overstand, Norfolk. Here he met and married his neighbour Cicely Ellen Green who was 16 years his senior. The family move from Norfolk to Cornwall in the Summer of 1924, settling at Trelawny Road by 1927.

It appears they named their house in Trelawny Road after where they met. Their only son, Harry John Abbiss (born 1919), joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery gaining the rank of Acting Major. The newspaper article featured may have confused father and son's military career.

He was employed as Horticultural Superintendent, Cornwall 1923-46 then Senior Horticultural Officer, South West Province, 1946-52.

The author of many articles and books such as "Wartime Vegetable Production" and "Market Gardening Wartime Measures", he gave talks and lectures and judged many parish shows in his time as County Horticultural Superintendent. For years he was an examiner of horticulture at London University, the Royal Horticultural Society, and more locally at Seale Hayne College, Devon.

After his death in 1965 an appeal was launched to create a memorial garden to him on the site of the Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge. He is buried in Kenwyn Parish Church, Cornwall alongside Cecily.

Other pictures
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Abbiss awarded D.C.M - Eastern Daily Press 28 Sept 1916
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Abbiss awarded M.B.E - Cornishman 4 Jan 1945
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Captain Abbiss 19 July 1943 (from Anne nee Dingley)
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Medal card TNA ref WO372-1-741
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Medal card TNA ref WO372-23-71488
Profile picture
Caption & credit
Medal card TNA ref WO372-23-46719
Profile picture
Caption & credit
DCM award 20 Oct 1916 - London Gazette
Profile picture
Caption & credit
DCM Bar award 22 Oct 1917 - London Gazette
Profile picture
Caption & credit
DCM Bar award 26 Jan 1918 - London Gazette
Profile picture
Caption & credit
MM award 9 Oct 1918 - London Gazette
References

TNA ref WO199/3391, WO372/23/46719, WO372/23/71488, WO372/1/741

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

London Gazette - links and images added, also  12 April 1945

The Cornishman newspaper

Eastern Daily Press 28 Sept 1916