Organisations/clubs: Northcote FC; Baptist gymnastic club; Eccleshil junior CC
Medals/awards: Certificate of Merit
Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park & St Luke’s
Regiment: Bradford Pals
Harold Peel was born in 1893 in Bradford the son of Richard and Mary Agnes, nee Middleborough.Mary Agnes died in 1898 aged 40 years and was buried in St Luke’s churchyard. Her address was given as the Workhouse although the rest of her family were still at Northampton Street which means that she had suffered an illness which needed nursing. Richard remarried in 1900 to Annie Kirby. By 1911 the family had moved to 26 Acre Lane. Harold, at 17 years of age, was working as an assistant firer.He enlisted on the 16th of May 1915 as Private 18/491 in the 15th/17th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of
Wales Own). In December 1915 they set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. In March 1916 the 31st Division left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France, a journey which took 5 days. They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916. Their first taste of action was on the 1st of July on the Somme where they suffered heavy casualties as the battle was launched.
Richard received a field postcard to say that his son Harold of the 2nd Bradford Pals had been seriously wounded. In 1917 Harold’s Battalion were in action in the Battle of Arras and in early 1918 they were on the Somme then moved north into Flanders for the Battles of the Lys.At some point in his service Harold was promoted to Corporal and had also been awarded a Certificate of Merit. He was killed in action on the 29th of September 1918 during the Battle of Polygon Wood from the
26th of September to the 3rd October 1917. He was 25 years of age.Harold is buried in the Underhill Farm Cemetery which was the name given to the building on the north-western edge of Ploegsteert Wood that was occupied by a dressing station and the cemetery which they used is close to the farm.He left his effects to his father Richard who received £8.19.2d on the 10th February 1919 and a War Gratuity of £17.10.0d on the 2nd of January 1920.
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks
A popular sportsman in the Eccleshill district in the person of Cpl Harold Peel, aged 24, of 26 Acre Lane, has been killed.His parents were notified in a letter dated 30th September, written by Capt C H Duckett, who said: “It is with deepest regret that I have to inform you of the death in action on the 29th of your son, Cpl Harold Peel, who along with other members of his gun team, was killed by a shell which burst amongst them during the recent advance.“Your son proved himself to be one of my best NCOs, both on the field of battle and in sports, being one of the leading
members of the battalion football team.“I am expressing on behalf of my officers, NCOs and men, my deepest sympathy with you in the great loss you have sustained. I hope you will find a little consolation in your sad bereavement in knowing that your son died nobly, carrying out his duty.”Cpl Peel enlisted in the Bradford Pals in February 1915 and was sent to Egypt and later was drafted to France. He took part in the Somme battle on 1st July 1916 and was wounded in five places.On recovering, he went to France again, was placed with a gun team and took part in many important engagements.
He was appointed captain of the 31st Division football club at the front and was popular with both officers and men.Previous to enlisting he was employed by W W Vint, Worsted Spinners, Victoria Mills and was captain of the Northcote Football Club, instructor of the Baptist gymnasium team and a member of the Eccleshill junior cricket team when they won the West Yorkshire cup competition.He was a member of the 3rd select young men’s class at the Congregational School.Shipley Times & Express 11-10-1918