Saturday, 5 July 2014

REMEMBERING . . . Private Harold Vernon Poole

Private Harold Vernon Poole - West Yorkshire Regiment #24181

My great grandfather, Harold Vernon Poole, was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire on 11th June 1894.

Copy of his birth certificate owned by Ruth Hogan

His parents were Frederick Slater Poole (1860-1948) and Grace Ellen nee Binns (1869-1917), he was the first child of their marriage which took place in summer 1893 in North Bierley registration district, West Yorkshire.

Frederick had been married and widowed previously, so there were 3 older half-siblings, Grace Alexandra (1883-?), James Alfred (1885-1959) and Mary Hannah AKA Polly (1888-?) who lived with the family.

In 1899, Harold became an older brother to Samuel Victor Poole (1899-1935) also born in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

By the 1901 census, the family had moved to Skipton in North Yorkshire, where Frederick was working as an engineer on the railways.

1901 census excerpt of the Poole family in Skipton, North Yorkshire
 Image from:, accessed 25th May 2014

Again by the time of the next census in 1911 the family had relocated again and this time to Rose Avenue, Horsforth, West Yorkshire and now Frederick is working as a Road Steam Roller Engineman Driver. Harold is 16 years old and is working as a Mule Peaceiner.

1911 census page for the Poole family at Rose Avenue, Horsforth
Image from:, accessed 25th May 2014

On 28th July 1914, war broke out with Germany and at the ripe age of 18 years old, Harold was old enough to join the army, but he did not enlist until 30th December 1915.

Certificate of Transfer to the Army Reserve owned by Ruth Hogan

Certificate of Discharge owned by Ruth Hogan

He was in the West Yorkshire Regiment and went to fight in France but I am still trying to discover which Battalion he was in. He was gassed and did not have really good health for the rest of his life due to the effects of the fighting on his life, but other than this passed down information I know very little about his fighting days.

His mother, Grace Ellen, who he was very fond of passed away in Yorkshire whilst he was away fighting in France on 31st July 1917. His father would marry again quickly to Delilah Shackleton on 27th April 1918 at All Saints Church in Bradford, although he was still living at Rose Avenue, Horsforth.

On 26th September 1918, Harold married Alice Thompson (1895-1973) of Horsforth, Yorkshire. They were wed at St Margaret's Church in Horsforth. I wonder whether Harold was home on leave for this as it was not yet the end of the war and he was not transferred to the army reserve until nearly a year later on 4th August 1918 and it would be nearly 10 years later when he was finally discharged on 28th May 1926.

Photo of Harold Poole and his wife
My grandmother told me rumours that at some point after returning from war, Harold had a disagreement with his father, Frederick, which would never be resolved. I often wonder if it was something to do with the death of his mother and sudden marriage to another lady, which all probably happened whilst Harold was away fighting in the war. Delilah AKA Lily was described as being a "tarter" by another of Frederick's grandchildren.

Harold & Alice's first child was not born until 25th November 1924, when Alice gave birth to Aileen Poole, although we seem to think there was an earlier boy child or pregnancy in which the child died or was possibly still born. Later they would have another girl, Mary Verona Poole born in 1929. 

My grandmother would tell me that her father, Harold, had little to do with his father, Frederick due to the fact that he had never given him a grandson, but whether these rumours about their relationship was true who now knows.  My grandmother lived on street very close to that of her grandfather, Frederick, but she would never have recognised her grandfather if she had passed him in the street.

Harold passed away in 1954 shortly after the birth of his second grandson at the age of 59 years.

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