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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Harold ? , 3rd (Special Reserve) Btn., Manchester Regiment


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I have been trying to find information about a soldier from the Manchester Regiment 1914-1919. He was a "friend" of my great great aunt and wrote to her throughout this period, signing most of the postcards "H". There is one card, an embroidered one, which has a small card inside signed "Harold", so I presume that was his proper name, but I have no idea of his surname. One card , written to someone else, does appear to have "H B" as the signature, and another has the words "A Coy, 3rd Manchester Regiment" after the usual "H", so I am hoping this might mean that he can be traced, but how I have no idea.

I have tried searching on Ancestry.co.uk and have found nothing conclusive, and as the cards continue until March 1919 I have reason to think he survived the War, although he could still have been in the regiment at that date.
In July 1918 H was writing from Cleethorpes, where I understand the 3rd special reserve battalion was stationed for most of the War years, and went over to France in 1917. I imagine that he was wounded or in need of hospitalization at some stage because 29 October 1918 he sent g.g aunt a card from Cornwall Hall, a V.A.D. Hospital in Sevenoaks, Kent, to tell her how he was feeling.
That's all I know about "Harold" , except that he and my g.g.aunt did not marry after the war, despite being called his "sweetheart", and she died a spinster. I would love to find out his full name and what became of him, did he die in the flu epidemic, marry someone else or stay single. I know it's asking a lot and is not an easy task but would be grateful for any help or advice you can offer in this search. If you aren't able to help then perhaps you may be able to steer me in the direction of someone who might.
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Hi Olive,

I have a feeling that a needle may be more easily found in a whole field of haystacks than one Harold B. I happen to have a great uncle Harold Brown, but he was removed from the the 1/6th Bttn. as too young.

The 3rd Bttn was a Reserve Bttn, but commonly a posting for wounded men from the Pals recuperating after the Somme battles in 1916. I've also seen 3rd Bttn as a sort of training Bttn, for Officers which may make more sense if Harold was around in autumn 1918. There are so few Service/Pension records remaining, this is a very tall order. I believe the men in Cleethorpes were not shown as posted to 3rd on their MICs, so we have even fewer clues.

Can you tell us some more about your aunt. DoB, address, parents etc? Please can you have a list of the dates and postmarks on the cards? Copies of the text may also reveal something.

It's a very heart warming story, but I suspect it may have passed on with your aunt. The challenge is worth a try though. You may also wish to try the http://themanchesters.org/foru/index.php


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Hi Tim,

I know that finding Harold is going to be a very tall order but I just find the story so fascinating that I have to keep on trying. I only discovered recently that my sister had the postcards and that several of them were from Harold to our great, great aunt Edith Charnock. She was born in Burtonwood, Lancashire (now Cheshire) in 1873 and died in 1937 in Newton le Willows. Edith had been a Mission Sister in the Church Army before the Great War but spent the war years living in Swinton , Manchester in an hotel run by her half-brother and his wife. She stayed there until 1919 and then returned to Newton le Willows. Her parents were Henry and Ellen Charnock.

The postcards contain the following information but some are just chatty with no details :

13 October 1917, postmarked 14th Postmark Folkestone. Sent to Edith. "We are still at Folkestone as the weather has been too rough to cross the Channel. May go over tomorrow, Sunday."

May 1918 postmark Liverpool W.D.14. Sent to Edith.

3 July 1918 postmark Manchester (3 Aug ?). Will arrive Cleethorpes 4.30pm this afternoon. Sent to Edith.

5 July 1918 postmark Cleethorpes, Grimsby. "Arrived here Saturday. Cleethorpes is absolutely packed with visitors". This card has the regimental information in the corner.

22 July 1918 postmark Prescot. Hoping to be on weekend pass before leaving for Cleethorpes..

29 October 1918 Sent to Edith. from Cornwall Hall V.A.D. Hospital, Sevenoaks, Kent. "I am feeling a little better today also have got up for the first time, although rather weak. "

15 March 1919 postmark Manchester SL. sent to Edith.

12 June 1919 postmark Manchester SL. Sent from Lamb Hotel, 448 Oldham Road, Manchester to Edith . He appears to be staying at same.

Thanks for replying to my post , I hope the above may help clear some mist, and I will have a look at the forum you suggested .


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