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Saturday 19 January 2008

One of The Missing

Those war memorials that were constructed in the twentieth century contain in almost every instance lists of names of those who died and/or served in conflict. It is sometimes assumed that this is the totality of their commemoration. But that is not the case.

53170, Private Harold Gardner of Ulverston is commemorated in many places.

His name appears on the town's principal memorial, the market cross, but it also appears on the name panels in the War Memorial Chapel in St Mary's parish church, on the memorial in Ulverston Victoria High School and on the school's photographic Roll of Honour, on his family's grave in the local cemetery and finally on the panels of the missing at Tyne Cot Military Cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium. He was killed aged 19 near Armentieres on April 10, 1918, while serving with the 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. He had arrived in France on March 29.

The Ulverston Grammar School Mag for summer 1918 has a short obituary for the lad. He was a pupil at the school from 1911-12, following which he went to Ghyll Bank, Whitehaven. He initially signed up with the 26th (Bankers) Battalion, Royal Fusilers, (City of London Rgt).

Harold appears on the 1901 census as living at 36, Casson Street, Ulverston with his Father & Mother. His Father, Thomas, though born in Holker was employed as a 'Local Inspector of Nuisances'! An admirable occupation! His Mother, Alice, was an Ulverston girl. Harold was their only son. Thomas lived on until January 1931 leaving Alice to gow old probably alone. There are no other names on the family grave.

The photo roll at Ulverston Victoria, from which this picture is taken, is a rare and precious survival for local and family history. There are other surviving photo rolls in the County, notably at Dent showing the men of the Congregational chapel and at what was formerly the 'K' Shoes factory in Kendal. There were others, at Burneside and Bowness on Windermere for instance, but I am not aware that these have survived. The 'K' Shoes pictures were rescued from a skip by a former employee in the 1990s when the factory changed ownership.

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