Wakefield Express – Northumberland Fusilier
Killed in Action
News has been received that Sergeant Harold Newton, Northumberland Fusiliers nephew of Mr H C Newton, Peterson Road, Wakefield, and grandson of the late Mr Newton of Newmillerdam, was killed in action on July 14th. Deceased who was 23 years of age was employed at Hemsworth Colliery, and was a prominent playing member of the colliery cricket team.
The above was an entry in the Wakefield Express on the 2nd of September 1916 and was one of many snippets and articles informing the community about the loss of friends, family and work mates. One of the snippets is a list of local men from the K.O.Y.L.I.’s, who have been wounded. Names include: Kilner, Wicking, Cadman, Dobson, Lodge, Parker and Haigh.
If I had gone through my collection of newspapers clippings related to both wars earlier, I would have included Harold in my series ‘The Somme Remembered’, but better late than never!
Harold had been born in Painthorpe, nr Wakefield or Newmillerdam, Wakefield – depending on which source you view. In 1901 Harold was living with his grandparents Samuel Leake and his wife Sarah. Samuel was as retired gamekeeper. The family at the time were living at Game Keeper’s House, West Bretton .
Ten years later in 1911, Harold is living at No 4 Club Terrace, Fitzwilliam, Wakefield with his paternal uncle and aunt – Lionel and Verona Evelyn Newton. Both Harold and his uncle worked at the local colliery as electric motormen, his uncle underground and Harold on the surface. Harold is not found on any census living with his parents, what was the reason for this? Had they died? Did they have a large family and some of their children lived with relatives? Who knows?
Harold, born in 1893, enlisted into the K.O.Y.L.I. as Private 15234, later being promoted to a Sergeant, evan at such a young age – had all his counterparts been killed? Or, was he respected by the men? Anyway, his medal card tells that he entered France on the 28th of July 1915 and that he was killed in action – he had not even been in France for one year before he was killed in The Battle of The Somme.
Harold is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing along with many others.