Documentary Idea- Jack Harrison VC

John ‘Jack’ Harrison would be my choice of subject for a documentary about a famous person from Hull.

Jack Harrison was born in Hull on 12 November 1890 his father was a plaiter and boilermaker in Earles Shipyard. he studied at St. John’s College, York (now York St. John University) where he was captain of the Rugby club and also represented them at Cricket and Swimming.

In 1911-1912 he played 5 games for York Rugby League club scoring 3 tries but then he returned to his hometown in September 1912. Back in Hull he was invited to join Billy Batten playing at Hull FC who were in the process of putting together a team with the express purpose of winning the Challenge Cup after they became the first team to earn the dubious distinction of losing three finals on the trot.

He set the Hull FC club record of 52 tries in a season in the 1913-1914 season, a record which he still holds to this day and was one of two try scorers for Hull as they beat Wakefield Trinity to win the 1914 Challenge Cup Final.

In 1915 he joined the East Yorkshire Regiment and was trained as a temporary 2nd lieutenant receiving his commission on 5 August 1916 and was posted to 6 Platoon, 11th Batalion.

On 25th March 1917 he lead a patrol into No Man’s Land and was awarded the Military Cross for ‘Conspicuous Gallantry and Devotion to Duty’ while handling his platoon with great skill and achieving their objective under the most trying conditions and capturing a prisoner.

On 3 May 1917 he was ordered, along with the rest of his brigade, to attack Oppy Wood Pas-De-Calais when they became pinned down by machine gun fire.

In the following engagement, after two failed attempts at leading his platoon to their objective, Jack single-handedly made a dash towards the machine gun hoping to knock out the gun and save the lives of many of his men, tragically he made the ultimate sacrifice in this action.

For this action he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross which was given to his wife Lilian in March 1918 by George V.

The only memorial to Jack Harrison is a plaque on a small stand outside the KC Stadium and I personally, along with many others, believe there should be a more prominent tribute to him such as a statue either outside the KC Stadium or in Hull City Centre.

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