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Lieutenant Harry Goslin - 'Wartime Wanderer'

Henry Goslin, born 9 November 1939, was better known as Harry to football fans up and down England as, before he was patrolling battlefields, was marshalling defences for Bolton Wanderers football club.

Between 1930 and 1939, Harry made 306 appearances for Bolton, scoring 26 goals.

At a match held at Bolton’s home ground Burnden Park on April 8, 1939, still some months before Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, Harry addressed the crowds saying after the game, he and the rest of the Bolton side, would be joining the Territorial Army. 

On the outbreak of war in September, Harry and the rest of the Wartime Wanderers as that Bolton team came to be known, joined the 53rd (Bolton) Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Artillery. 

The unit saw action in France and North Africa before reaching Italy in 1943.

During the fighting on the Moro, the 53rd (Bolton) Field Artillery was in support of the Eighth Indian Division. Harry was present at the construction of the Impossible Bridge as one of the forward artillery officers helping coordinate artillery cover.

On the 14th, the Indian Army positions in the centre of the Allied line came under heavy fire, with bombs striking the line. 

Harry’s observation post (OP) was hit by frenzied mortar shelling. An enemy mortar became lodged in a tree under which Harry was sheltering. Its delayed fuse went off shortly after, hurling shrapnel and wood into Harry’s back.

Harry was initially paralysed and evacuated for treatment. He struggled against his injuries for four days before finally passing away. 

Harry is buried in Sangro War Cemetery. He was the only Wartime Wanderer to lose his life in the Second World War, although several of his teammates were injured during their time in service.

Lieutenant Harry Goslin (Public Domain)