Harold was born locally on 8 February 1894, the son of a hatter, George Hockenhull, and his wife, Sarah. The 1901 Census shows the family living at 1 Holt Street, Stockport. Harold, then aged 6, had a younger sister, two-year old Hettie and three older siblings (Stanley (11), Joseph (14) and Alice (15).
Harold emigrated to live in America and had settled at 60 Eagle Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, where he earned a living as a grocery clerk. Unlike many young men of British birth, Harold did not return to the UK to join up when war was declared in 1914. Nor did he travel north to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Perhaps, he received conscription papers from the US military in 1918 and thought he would prefer to serve with Empire forces than the Americans. In any event, on 29 July 1918, he went to the recruiting office in Montreal and joined up.
He named his father as next of kin and that he was now living at 506 Edgeley Road, Stockport. Harold's papers can be viewed on-line at the Canadian National Archives and these show him to have been 5 feet 4 inches tall, of a medium complexion with grey eyes and light hair. Harold had recorded his religious denomination as Church of England.
The 20th Reserve Battalion was based in the UK during the war and received newly recruited troops from Canada destined for the "active service" battalions from Quebec. They would carry out further training before going to the Western Front. As Harold died whilst with the Reserves, it can be assumed that he never saw any fighting. He will, no doubt, have died from natural causes - probably from pneumonia as a result of catching influenza (a world-wide pandemic of "flu claimed millions of lives in 1918/19).