Rank: Gunner
Number: 3377
Unit: 143rd Heavy Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 31 August 1916
Age: 23
Cemetery: Struma Military Cemetery, Greece

The vast majority of men who died during the Great War did so as a direct result of enemy action. They were either killed outright or died sometime later from their injuries. Many others died of illness and disease and this characterised the Salonika campaign in northern Greece. For every man killed in battle, three died if disease. But it was neither of these which killed Harold. He died as a result of tragic accident when he was run over by one of the ammunition wagons bringing supplies to his gun battery.

One of his comrades, a Sergeant Weaver wrote to his parents, Thomas and Alice, then living at 52 Berlin Road, Edgeley. “Whilst consoling you in your sad loss, it may be some slight comfort to you to know that his end was instantaneous and that he was laid to rest in a little Cemetery by a church minister, attended by six of his comrades. Believe me, his loss is felt by all of us as he was always a cheerful worker and attentive to duty.”

Harold had enlisted into the army at Stockport, leaving his job as a clerk with the local form of timber merchants, Samuel Lees Ltd, Wellington Road North. He was assigned to the newly formed 143rd Battery which had been raised at Ashton under Lyne. After the War, Mr & Mrs Thatcher had moved nearby to 21 Madras Road.

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