Skip to main content

SOUTHERN, Harold Henry (1899-1961)

Harold Henry Southern (1899-1961), known as Harry, moved to Wickhamford in 1918.  He was one of thirteen children of Charles and Maria Southern (née Thornborough).   In the 1911 census the family were living in Cow Honeybourne.  Charles was a bricklayer’s labourer and ‘Harry’ was eleven years old.

Family information records that Harry Southern did enlist but, like many men, he rarely mentioned his war service.  All that is known from family sources is that he was under age when he joined the Army and it is thought that he served in France.  (It is estimated that 250,000 boys under eighteen years of age enlisted in the British armed services in the Great War by falsifying their age at recruitment.)  There are surviving medals records for two men with the name ‘Harold H Southern’.  One served in Mesopotamia with the 1st (Garrison) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. The other served in the 1/20th Battalion, London Regiment (which went to France in 1915) and then in the Royal West Kent Regiment.  There are also other records, in different regiments, for men called ‘Harold Southern’, so Harry Southern of Wickhamford’s Army details remain a mystery at present.

School admissions records reveal that the Southern family moved to Badsey in August 1915; by September 1918 when Frank, one of the younger children in the family, started at Badsey School, their address was Wickhamford.  Harry returned home to Wickhamford after the war and was listed as living with his parents at ’13 Council Cottages’, now 29 Pitchers Hill, on the 1924 Electoral Register.   Harry’s younger sister, Violet Southern, whilst a pupil at Badsey Council School, wrote a letter in 1933 describing life in a market gardening community.

By the time of the 1939 Register Harry was living with his wife, Nellie Ethel (née Lidsey), at ’24 Pitcher’s Hill’, now 63 Pitchers Hill.  He died in 1961 and is buried in Wickhamford cemetery.