Born in 1888 in Victoria Park, Hackney, Middlesex, son of Alfred Samuel and Sophia Ann Piper. His father was publican of the Waggon and Horses, Great Amwell in 1911 and later of the Bull Inn, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire where Harry was a barman. Before the war he had returned to England from Africa to become landlord of the Bull Inn, Much Hadham. At the outbreak of war, August 1914, he was the first man from Much Hadham to enlist. He joined the machine gun section of the Hertfordshire Regiment. Enlisted at Hertford on 7 Sep 1914.