Harold was born in Runcorn, Cheshire on 23rd February 1899 to single mother Charlotte Wright. Aged 2, in the 1901 census, he lived with his mother, Aunt Rebecca and Grandparents at 12 Ellesmere Street, Runcorn.
10 years later, aged 12, the 1911 census records Harold living at 39 Kenner Street, Wirral. He is incorrectly noted as the Nephew to the head of the household - he was actually the Stepson as his mother married Thomas Ledwith in 1908. Tragically Harold's mother died 3 years later in 1914 and with no other family to live with, he joined the Navy on 31st January 1915 as a Boy 2nd Class.
He was 5'2" tall with brown hair and grey eyes. He left HMS GANGES on 26th March 1915 and was stationed at HMS IMPREGNABLE from 27th March 1915 to 1st July 1915.
He was trained further at HMS VERNON (02/07/1915-20/08/1915) and HMS DONEGAL (21/08/1915 - 15/08/1916); both training schools in torpedoes and telegraphy.
He transferred to HMS VANGUARD on 16th August 1916, missing being aboard during the Battle of Jutland. Whilst aboard the VANGUARD however, he rose to Ordinary Telegraphist on 23/08/1916 and then to Telegraphist on 19/03/1917.
With no remaining family in his home town to remember him, he was listed at the Naval Memorial in Portsmouth.
He was just 18.
#244 - 836/843
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
1901 & 1911 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 717
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 010 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/10; Scan Number: 1174
Photo source - The Guardian July 1917