Rolls of Honour: Baildon, Cambrai Memorial, Louverval
Regiment: West Yorkshire
Harold was born in Liverpool in 1890 and his family appear to have moved to the Bradford area within a couple of years when their youngest child was born.On 18 June 1915 the Shipley Times & Express carried a long wedding report which included detailed descriptions of the church decorations, the ladies’ clothing and a complete list of the gifts. This is a short extract:“A military wedding which aroused considerable interest in the Baildon district was solemnised at the Parish Church on Tuesday, the parties being members of two well-known and highly-respected families.“The bride was Miss Ellen Robinson, only daughter of Mr and Mrs G E Robinson of ‘Infield’, Baildon and the bridegroom Second Lieutenant Harold Smith of the 6th West Yorkshire Regt and only son of Mr and Mrs S W Smith of Sefton Lodge, Baildon.Quiet and simple“On account of the war it was the wish of the parents of the bride and bridegroom that the event should be as quiet and simple as possible, therefore only the near relatives were invited.“Owing to the popularity of the contracting parties, however, the church was only able to accommodate a portion of those who wished to witness the ceremony.“The church had been tastefully decorated with choice flowers by Mr Fred Smith of Baildon…A red carpet was laid from the entrance of the west door to the altar rails…“Lieut G C Turner, 24th PWO West Yorks was best man and the groomsmen were Mr John Metcalfe jun and Cadet N Barber.
“The officiating clergy were Rev Carson Sutcliffe Thomas, vicar of St Augustine’s, Bradford, and the Rev A E Sidebotham, vicar of Baildon…“After the ceremony a reception was held at ‘Ingfield’ and later Sec-Lieut and Mrs Smith left for London on their honeymoon.”We get a first report of Harold’s war on 19 October 1917 with the news of an award for courage:“Lieut Harold Smith, son of Mr and Mrs S W Smith of Sefton Lodge, Baildon, has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field and in recognition of his ‘conspicuous courage and devotion to duty during a hostile trench raid. He has also been promoted to Captain.‘In company with Capt Turner this officer went up and down the line throughout the period of the enemy’s barrage and after Capt Turner had been killed, he at once took over command and was constantly between posts which bore the brunt of the attack.‘His perfect and complete disregard of danger undoubtedly had a very good effect in defeating the enemy. He set a splendid example to all ranks.’
“Lieut Smith has served for some time with the West Yorkshire Regt and prior to the war was engaged with his father in business in Bradford where he was well known on the Exchange.In June 1915, he married Miss Ellen Robinson, only daughter of Mr and Mrs George E Robinson of Ingfield, Baildon.On 7 December 1917 the paper reported:MissingCapt Harold Smith, only son of Mr and Mrs Smith of Sefton Lodge and son-in-law of Mr Geo E Robinson, Ingfield, is reorted to be missing.Capt Smith was home on leave only a few weeks ago and was presented with the Military Cross for bravery in the field.It wasn’t until 12 July 1918 that the army confirmed that he has been killed:Capt Harold Smith, who was reported missing on 22nd November 1917, is now officially reported to have been killed on that date.Capt Smith was the only son of Mr S W Smith of Sefton Lodge, Baildon, and before the war held a
prominent position in the mohair department of Thomas and Cook, London, of which firm his father is a partner.He married in June 1916, the only daughter of Mr George E Robinson, JP, of Baildon and he also leaves two children.Lieut Col C H Hoare in a letter says: ‘Capt Harold Smith when last seen was leading his company with absolute coolness and disregard for danger and I cannot express the regret I felt when I found at the end of the fighting that he was missing.‘Knowing him as I do, I have no doubt that he was killed at the head of his men.‘He was a splendid company commander and I miss him more than I can say and trust it may be of some little comfort to you to know how fond we all were of him and how splendidly he always did his duty and how gallantly he fought his last fight.’