In Flanders Fields…..Harold Walpole

Harold Edgar WALPOLE

Geddington Roll of Honour 1914-18

Picture of Harold Walpole

Harold Walpole

Rank: Able Seaman
Service No: R/6329
Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve – Anson Battalion, R.N. Divison
Date of Death: 11/11/1918 – Mons, Belgium. Died of wounds in 148th (RN) Field Ambulance, aged 19
Cemetery: Nouvelles Communal Cemetery, France – Grave: On the East side.
Memorial Inscription: ‘The Lord bless him and keep him and give him peace.’
War Office Information: Son of Henry Francis and Mary Ann Walpole, of 26, Wood St., Geddington, Northants.

Personal Information

Harry Walpole was the youngest of  Henry Francis & Mary Ann Walpole (nee Moore)’s children and with four older brothers he had plenty of male role models to follow. He was born on 19th July 1899, in Geddington and baptised in St Mary Magdalene on 27th August 1899. He later became a bellringer there and a member of the church choir like so many of his friends.

All five Walpole sons, the largest number from any family in Geddington, served during the war, but only Harry is listed as an Able Seaman. He enlisted on 11th September 1917 and was wounded twice and returned to the theatre of war for the third time on 2nd October 1918.

Francis William                4th East Surrey             Private                  07/09/14 – 02/10/14

Charles Henry                 1st Northants                Sergeant                30/11/14 – 24/02/19

John Wilfred                    4th Middlesex               Corporal                08/12/15 – 30/04/19

Samuel Jackson              Machine Gun Corps       Corporal               23/01/17 – 22/04/19

Harold Edgar                Anson Batt RNVR          Able Seaman           13/09/17 – 11/11/18

In his book ‘Geddington at War’ Melvyn Hopkins explains ‘At the outbreak of war in 1914 there was a vast surplus of naval reservists. To use this surplus the Royal Naval Division came into being with battalions named after famous admirals of the past – Anson being one of them. Then, in 1916 the RND went to the Western Front, the battalion names being retained, as were the naval ranks and customs. All ranks wore khaki.’

November 1918 saw the signing of the Armistice; the church bells were rung and most workers were given a holiday. A service of thanksgiving was held in the church. However, in the first week of December Harry’s parents received the news from the Admiralty that he had died on 11th November 1918, a day after being wounded.  It must have been devastating news and 26 Wood Street must have been a home of very mixed emotions at that time.

Harry is buried in the cemetery at Nouvelles, near Mons. There are just 8 named graves there.

1901 Census: 13, Wood Street, Geddington
Henry F Walpole (father); Aged 34; bricklayer’s labourer; b. Geddington
Mary A Walpole (mother); Aged 41; b. Geddington
Amy C Walpole (sister); Aged 13; b. Geddington
Francis W Walpole (brother); Aged 11; b. Geddington
John W Walpole (brother); Aged 9; b. Geddington
Samuel J Walpole (brother); Aged 7; b. Geddington
Charles H Walpole (brother); Aged 5; b. Geddington
Harold E Walpole; Aged 1; b. Geddington

1911 Census: Wood Street, Geddington
Henry Walpole (father); Aged 44; bricklayer – married 24 years
Mary Ann Walpole (mother); Aged 51 – 6 children, all living
Francis Walpole (brother); Aged 21; bricklayers labourer
Jackson Walpole (brother); Aged 19; general labourer
Charles Walpole (brother); Aged 15; assistant porter & gardener
Harold Walpole; Aged 11

Military: Entered 11/9/17; Draft for BEF 5/4/18, joined Anson Bn. 8/4/18-22/5/18 wounded, returned to duty 23/5/18-25/8/18 GSW right leg, rejoined Anson Bn. 2/10/18-10/11/18 wounded.

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The website team wish to acknowledge the invaluable resources from ‘Geddington at War’ by Melvyn Hopkins and ‘Geddington as it was’ by Monica Rayne. Other source material has been taken from public records, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and local newspaper reports.

We hope all the information is accurate. Please let us know if you find any errors.

In recognising the men named on the war memorial we also want to remember those others from the 170 men from the village who saw it as their duty to fight for a freedom they valued. They could not have known at what cost it would come.

To paraphrase Harry’s inscription:

The Lord bless them and keep them and give them peace

    1 Comment

    1. Jackie Binley

      Sun 11th Nov 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Remembrance of World War One. A wonderful and emotive subject in Geddington.net. Well done to everyone who organised this especially Janet Jones, Pam Hopkins and Melvin Hopkins and I bet a lot more. Many of those who died were so young, with everyone in the village knowing them and the village centre was half the size it is now, what sadness must have hung over the whole area. Well done.

      Reply

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