Harold Penry Garnons Williams

Harold Penry Garnons Williams (1898 -1917) was the uncle of the late Mrs Susan Ballance of Abercamlais.

He was educated at Shrewsbury and served with 1st 28 County of London Battalion (the Artists Rifles) in World War 1. Harold transferred to the larger 190 brigade 63 Royal Naval Division on 28th June 1917.

Harold died on 30th October 1917 aged 19 during the second Battle of Passchendaele which took place between 26th October and 10 November. Losses were high with 20,500 men dying between 21st– 31st October. 63 Division had 3126 casualties between 26th – 31st October.

Harold died during the assault on 30th October. The battalion advanced on Lekkerboterbeek Creek but were caught by German artillery fire at their jumping off line. In deep mud against heavy machine gun fire, they were ‘unable to meet their objectives’.

Harold’s parents received a letter stating that Harold’s body could not be found. He was not taken prisoner as the British held the land. Harold was therefore presumed dead.

He is remembered on Panel 153 at Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium.

Christmas Eve, Abercamlais

My Dear Nevill

This is just a line to enclose in Basil’s as I know you will like to hear what Aunt Alice said with regard to her enquiries for information about dear old Harold. I think Mr S is a chaplain at the Front. She says – “I heard from Mr Stephenson last evening but he can gain no news of your dear Harold. He says in due course the ‘missing’ will be changed into ‘presumed killed’ which they are practically certain is the case now – the nature of the ground was very bad and the fighting must have been under very bad conditions and heroic. I am so sorry to have to tell you this – but it is splendid hearing too that such young fellows did so well and joined the great Army. “Tis as a soldier that he will stand before the great white throne.” It is some comfort to have heard even this. I hope as time goes on we may learn a little about the dear boy and his fine end.

Above is a postcard sent by Harold, aged around 7 years to his nanny Rosa May Smith. Rosa worked as the nanny for Arthur and Anna Garnons Williams until 1910.

Rosa may be seen in the photograph on the right. She is the younger of the two ladies.

The postcard and photograph were kindly donated by Mr Godfrey Harbard (grandson of Rosa May Smith).

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