War Memorial – Hadleigh, Essex
The St James The Less church WWI plaque lists H Clifford as having died in 1917, and the memorial plaque names him as Harold Clifford.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states:
- Serjeant HAROLD CLIFFORD
- Service Number: G/15706
- Regiment & Unit/Ship: Royal Sussex Regiment, 11th Bn.
- Date of Death: 18 September 1917
- Age 34 years old
- Buried or commemorated at TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Belgium. Panel 86 to 88.
- Country of Service: United Kingdom
- Additional Info: Son of the late Frederick Clifford; husband of Florence Winifred Clifford, of “Arnewood,” Rectory Rd., Hadleigh, Essex.
According to military records, Harold CLIFFORD was born 1883 in Battersea, Surrey, was the son of the late Frederick CLIFFORD and the husband of Florence Winifred CLIFFORD of Arenwood, Rectory Road, Hadleigh, Essex.
Harold and Florence (nee SMITH) married in 1914, registered in the West Ham district of Essex. The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive state Harold had lived with his parents in Hadleigh for three and a half years (prior to or after marriage?). He was employed as a foreman at the Salvation Army Colony nursery. Sadly, this is where the trail ends as there are no matching birth or census records for him.
Harold enlisted in Southend during June 1916 and was initially in the Army Cyclist Corps before transferring to the 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and became Acting Sargent. He was killed in action along with five other soldiers when a shell exploded whilst on duty as an observation scout on 18th Sep 1917 aged 34 or 35, and posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was buried in Tyne Cot Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Newspaper article reproduced with the permission of the British Newspaper Archive and The British Library Board
Harold’s widow Florence lived at Arenwood, Rectory Road, Hadleigh until at least 1939. She never remarried and died in 1976 aged 95.
The only CLIFFORD recorded in Hadleigh in census records is Alice CLIFFORD in 1901. She was boarding at 7 Nursery Terrace (part of the farm colony), single, age 41 and working as a sick nurse. She then emigrated to US, married and died there in 1927. She was born in Suffolk.
There were seven Harold Clifford’s born between 1881-1885, none of which are the correct Harold:
- Harold Clifford – 1882 – Salford, Lancashire – Mother COLLEY – DIED 1968 USA
- Harold Bruce Clifford – 1883 – Edmonton, Middlesex – Mother HILDITCH – DIED 1919 Canada
- Harold Lay Clifford – 1883 – Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire – Mother LAY – DIED 1964
- Harold Clifford – 1884 – Rotherham, Yorkshire West Riding – Mother TAYLOR – DIED 1885
- Harold Moore Clifford – 1884 – Lambeth, London (Surrey) – Mother GILMORE – DIED 1924 USA
- Harold John Clifford – 1885 J – Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire – Mother MILLS – DIED 1950
- Harold Brookes Clifford – 1885 – Gloucester, Gloucestershire – Mother WOODCOCK – DIED 1946
There is no middle initial used to suggest he was born under a different first name. Perhaps his age is wrong in the military records? He married in 1914, so would have been born before 1896. Doing a wide search for “Harold Clifford” born 1878-1898 yields thirty nine results (it’s an uncommon name). Assuming Battersea is around the area he was born, opening it up to just counties (Middlesex, London, Surrey) leaves nine results. I have discounted all but the last, who is too young anyway.
- Harold Bruce Clifford – 1883 – Edmonton, Middlesex – Mother HILDITCH – DIED 1919
- Harold Moore Clifford – 1884 – Lambeth, London – Mother GILMORE – DIED 1924
- Harold Clifford – 1888 – Brentford, Middlesex – Mother DAVIS – DIED 1918
- Edgar Harold Clifford – 1889 – Edmonton, Middlesex – Mother DAVIS – DIED 1891
- Harold Clifford – 1892 – Chelsea, London – Mother HASLOP – DIED 1953
- Harold Charles Clifford-Smith – 1894 – Greenwich, London – Mother CLARKE – DIED 1960
- Arthur Harold Clifford – 1895 – Islington, London – Mother FULLER – DIED 1964
- Harold Clarence Clifford – 1895 – Kingston, Surrey – Mother RUSSELL – DIED 1918
- Harold Clifford – 1898 – Pancras, London – Mother (-)
The only CLIFFORD to show up in electoral registers in Hadleigh is Harold’s wife Florence (from 1918-1931). There is a Harold CLIFFORD living at 11 Primrose Mansions, Battersea 1908-1911 but he was born 1867 in Kent (a retired Lt Colonel).
Link To Hadleigh
The only link found is that of the residence of Harold’s widow after 1917. This would explain his place on the Hadleigh War Memorial.