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Harold Hanford

Private Harold Hanford

Birth

Harold Hanford was born in Morton, Lincolnshire in c 1899.

His birth was registered in Bourne in the March quarter of 1899 indicating a birth between January and March of that year.

Family History

Harold was the son of James Hanford a Journeyman Butcher from Morton and his wife Elizabeth Ann Pikett (Also know as Elizabeth A Foster of Billingborough).

James Hanford was born in Morton c1866. He married Elizabeth Ann Pickett in 1889. She was born in Spilsby c1868. The marriage was registered in the Bourne District but it is likely that this could have taken place in Billingborough.

The children of James and Elizabeth Ann are:

Charlotte c1886, Agnora c1890, Francis c1892, James Fisher c1893, Alfred Sydney c1894, John Foster c1896, Mary c1897, Harold 1899, Eric 1903, Violet Ann c1905, Georgina Mary 1906, C Ernie 1908, Dora 1908, Frank 1911 and Jessie.

On the 1911 census Harold Hanford was a boarder in the Sandall Household with 2 of his brothers.

The Soldiers Died in the Great War records show Harold’s place of residence as Bourne Lincolnshire.

Other comments on the CWGC records show that Harold was the Son of James and Elizabeth Hanford, Morton, Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Military History

Harold’s war office records are yet to be uncovered and may be part of the burnt records that were destroyed by fire.

The Medal Rolls do not show a Harold or H Hanford in the Lincolnshire Regiment and so more research will need to be done on this point.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission we know that Harold was serving in the 2nd Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment, when he was killed on 21st March 1918. This was the day of the Great German Offensive (First Battles of the Somme 1918) which saw the enemy attack across a 54 mile wide line using many more divisions than the allied army.

From the history of the Lincolnshire Regiment we can piece together the following information.

February 1918 saw a great change in the way Divisions and brigades were formed. This saw both the 1stand 2nd Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment both being attached to 62nd Brigade (21st Division) on February 3rd 1918. It was very unusual to see two Battalions of the same regiment fighting together.

On the night of the 20th March the 21st Division was holding part of the line east of Epehy and at the southern point of the Flesquieres Salient. The 1st and 2nd Lincolnshires were holding a section of this line near to the Canal Du Nord, just north of Peronne.

Shortly before 5am the enemy opened with an intense bombardment of gas, high explosive shells and trench mortars against the whole British line. Roads behind the line as well as the front line and support trenches were continually bombarded for four hours.

At 9:45am the German Army advanced through the thick fog which hung over the lines. The outpost line was overwhelmed by the enemy before it had chance to put up a fight. The main lines had expended their machine gun ammunition during the early morning fog and fought bravely against advancing enemy mounted units. Battalion headquarters was overrun during the day and fought its way up Chapel Hill. Parts of the 2nd Lincolnshire’s defended Chapel Hill, towards the rear of the front line along with 2 tanks.

The main line held during the day, although at times this was precarious and at some times critical.

The Lincolnshire Battalions were eventually relieved by the South African Scottish by 8am on the 22nd of March and moved safely back to the Pioneer Camp at Heudicourt.

Harold Hanford died during action on 21st March  1918.

Memorial

Private Harold Hanford 49402, 2nd Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment, is remembered with honour at Le Cateau Military Cemetery in the village of Le Cateau-Cambresis, 17km south east of Cambrai.
Grave Ref: I. B. 7.

Hanford

Hanford Gate

Please see below more pictures from Le Cateau Military Cemetery

www.flickr.com

Click here for the guide to terms used.

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