Lieutenant Harold Agnew Reaney
Harold Reaney was born to Robert Agnew Reaney, of Rosemead Street, Peters Hill, Huntingdon in 1881.
Harold’s father was a Bank Manager, and in time, he followed his father into banking, being employed by Capital and Counties Bank in Horncastle. Some reports state that he also worked in the branch at Biggleswade. While living in Biggleswade he became known as a singer as well as an athlete, playing for the local hockey team.
At the start of the Great War, Harold served as a Private in the 19th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and was in France from November 1915 until March 1916.
He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment and on Sunday 17th September 1916, Second Lieutenant H.A. Reaney joined the battalion for duty in the Battle of the Somme. The Colonel of the battalion in describing their actions during the Somme wrote,
“During the period mentioned in this diary the Battalion went into action on two occasions. The morale of the Battalion was extremely high. The men fought with determination and skill, gained all their allotted objectives and received the highest praise from their Brigadier, Divisional Commander, Corps Commander, Army Commander and were especially congratulated by the General Officer Commanding, Sir Douglas Haig”.
Harold was recommended for the Distinguished Service Order and was awarded the Military Cross, the citation for which reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry in action. Although wounded successively three separate times he continued to lead his platoon until he fell from sheer exhaustion”.
Harold married Hilda Eileen Inglis on the 30th January 1918 at the Parish Church of St Thomas in Portman Square, London, setting up home in Edith Road, Kington.
Unfortunately, on the 27th July 1918 whilst waiting for a train at the Elephant and Castle tube station, London, Harold fell from the platform and was killed by an approaching train at the age of 37.
He is buried and commemorated in a private plot (LL17) in Priory Road Cemetery.
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