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Jul 23

Harold Henry Berridge

Harold Henry was born on 21 July 1897 at Forest Hill, Middlesex, the eldest son of Alice and Harold Berridge Esquire, CIE, OBE, who was listed as a civil engineer in the 1891 census. By the time HH was aged 3 the family were living at East Stonehouse in Devon. Possibly his father was engaged in a civil engineering project in that part of the country. The fact that his father moved around the country may account for HH arriving at LWGS as a boarder. His date of admission is missing from the records but it was no earlier than September 1905 when he had just turned eight and most likely January 1906. Being so young he would have been placed in form II. He stayed at LWGS for eight terms leaving in July 1908 at the age of 11. He continued his education as a boarder at Dover College Preparatory School, one of 19 pupils aged between 8 and 13, and probably stayed on in the senior school.

He somehow managed to enlist in the Army Service Corps on 11 November 1914, under-aged 17½ (later called the Royal Army Service Corps) and was quickly promoted to temporary Acting 2ndLieutenant on 1stMay 1915. He took part in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.  He seems to have leap frogged the next rank and was promoted acting Captain, based at Aldershot, on 1st February but on 29thNovember he was ‘removed from the Corps’ though still kept on the Active List. It is difficult to interpret this unusual service career. He must have been a highly capable young men to become an officer so young and quickly promoted. Service in the Service Corps suggests that he may not have been fit enough medically for fighting in the front line.

What he did for the rest of the war is unclear but in 1919 he was posted to India, where he became a member of two Masonic Lodges, initiated in Khyber Lodge, Peshawar on 16thOctober 1919 and the M Mahon Lodge, Quetta on 21stOctober 1920, having moved from one India (now Pakistan)/Afghanistan frontier town to another 500 miles south-west.

In the autumn of 1922, he returned to England and on 4 November 1922 married Elizabeth Abbott Rogers at St Clement Danes church in the Strand, London. Elizabeth’s father was a stockbroker living in West Kensington. At that time Harold’s address was Kingsmead, 61 King’s Road, Fleet near Aldershot. However, he returned to NW India until 1924, probably remained in the army until 1930 and possibly continued to live abroad as he is not mentioned in the 1939 Register.

In the spring of 1942, aged 44, he remarried at Thrapston Northamptonshire but continued to live at Fleet, dying at the age of 80, leaving a fairly modest £8917.

(Research by Derek Turner)

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