Harold Walter Rose

Private Harold Walter Rose, aged 22, Regimental Number 200193, of the 1/4th Hampshire (T.F.) Battalion, was killed in action on 21st January 1916 at The Hanna Defile, Iraq. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Family Life

Harold was born on 22nd May 1893 to Charles and Sarah Florence Rose in Chipping Ongar, Essex. He was baptised in July of that year. He had a brother, George Creffield who was two years older than him. Three years after his birth the third son Herbert Victor was born.

His father Charles was the headmaster of the school in Chipping Ongar. In 1881 he was living at 167 High Street, with his first wife Mary, their young son Charles and a 14 year old servant called Mary Westwood. Charles’ wife Mary died in 1886 and by the time of the next census in 1891 he had been married to Sarah Florence for a year. The family was still living on the High Street. Sarah, at 23 years old, was 17 years younger than Charles, and was an assistant teacher. The eldest child Charles (13) from his marriage to Mary, was living with them, as were Margaret Pearce (21) and Amelia Howe (18), both assistant teachers. They had a general servant living in the house, Margaret Wright aged 12. By 1901 the eldest son Charles was no longer living with the family. The family was still living on the High Street in 1911 and had been joined in the house by John Roulon Creffield (60), brother in law to Charles and described as a butler, disengaged. George at 19 was a boy clerk employed by the Board of Trade and Harold, although still at school was said to be studying for the teaching profession. Harold attended the Kings Trust School where his father was the Headmaster, before moving up to Loughton Boys’ School. He then took up a position as a pupil teacher at Epping Boys’ School. Sarah Florence had taken a job as the superintendent sewing mistress. The house was described as having 7 rooms. These would only include the main living and sleeping areas.

Victorian School in High Ongar photograph by John Winfield

There are several local newspaper reports that attest to the high regard in which Charles Rose was held in the local community. His school was described in 1914 as:

a Council School, endowed with the rents of five houses in the town, left by Joseph King in 1678, now producing £92 yearly; it was reorganised in 1869 and enlarged in 1873, at a cost of £320, to meet the requirements of the Elementary Education Act, 1870; the school now educates 210 children from the parishes of Chipping Ongar, High Ongar, Shelley and Greensted and is managed by 6 managers, Charles Rose is the master.

By 1901 Charles Rose had been teaching at the school for 25 years and to mark the occasion he was presented with a handsome silver tea service and a purse containing over £13. There had been 276 subscribers to the gift. 8 years later he was given a silver mounted silk umbrella engraved with his initials and the date of presentation, and then two years later his service as a Sunday School teacher was rewarded with a clock in recognition of his position as superintendent for 32 years.

In 1911, the year before Harold left home to begin his training at Winchester, he took part in a performance of The Rivals’ with the Loughton School Dramatic Society with the object of raising funds for the new Forest Hospital. The hall was crowded and the audience much appreciated the performance.

College Days

Harold attended Winchester Diocesan Training College from 1912 to 1914. In 1910 Harold had taken the London Matriculation Examination in order to gain a place at College. By this time there were several examinations that were acceptable as entrance exams rather than just the Queen’s or King’s Scholarship. The students had a demanding timetable but there were plenty of opportunities to participate in social events and sporting activities in what little spare time they had. We know from the College Magazine that Harold took part in a debate about capital punishment but unfortunately we don’t know which side of the argument he was supporting. Another debate in which he participated was also mentioned; the question being debated had the catchy title Does the value of the Kinematograph warrant the extent to which it is being encouraged today?’ On that occasion Harold was the chief opposer. He was an accomplished Bridge player winning the college competition with his partner Edward Hart.

Winchester Training College courtesy of Alwyn Ladell

In 1914 when Harold was a Senior at the College there was an inspection. In his report to the Principal, the Archbishop’s Inspector commented:

The College is as effective and pleasing as usualthey have been thoroughly and well taught, and treated the subjects reverently, thoughtfully, and with interest The College quite maintains its excellence.

Part of the College experience was the Territorial Force that the new students joined in their first week at College. The T.F. was part of the Hampshire Regiment and is the main reason that there are more alumni in the Hampshires than in any other regiment. They had regular training which included weapons firing, the College having its own armoury.

The students took examinations twice a year at college. The first of these was at the end of their first term. Harold only took a few of these but no reason is given in the Mark Book for this. The logical explanation would be that he was ill during the examination period. By the midsummer exams of his first year he had an average mark of 54.8% which placed him 24th on the order of merit. The following Christmas he had moved up a place to 23rd.  At the end of his course Harold was awarded Grade C for Music, Drawing and a Grade D for Science, as well as a second class pass in the Archbishops’ Examination. There is no record of his final overall grade.

War broke out as Harold was completing his teacher training. We have no record for Harold of a job as an assistant schoolteacher . We do know that he enlisted in Winchester.

Photograph from The Wintonian Magazine in the Hampshire Record Office


5 alumni from Winchester Training College in Mesopotamia

Oakley, Harold Rose, Warne, Walter, Tarrant (seated)

Photograph from the archive at Hampshire Record Office

Harold was not the only young man from Winchester Training College who enlisted with the 1/4th Hampshire (T.F.) Battalion. He would have known several other students, both from his time at College and some who had attended in previous years. One company of the Hants Regiment was already fighting in Mesopotamia when Harold arrived in the area. On his medal roll his date of disembarkation is given as 25th October 1915. Harold would have been amongst the reinforcements sent. By December 1915 the Expeditionary Force, which included A’ Company of the 1/4th Hants, were under pressure, besieged at Kut-al-Amara. Harold became part of the Relief Force with the remaining companies of his regiment. By the 4th January 1916 the Relief Force was on the move towards Kut. By the 7th January they had pushed the Turks back from Shaikh-Saad. On the 13th they were successful again at the Wadi, and the Turks withdrew to their next position at the Hanna Defile, pursued by the Relief Force. Between the 18th and 20th January the Relief Force manoeuvred their men, in thick mud underfoot, to get into position to attack the Turkish forces. The Turks were able in that time to strengthen their defensive positions. The enemy defences were a mile deep and protected on either side by marshland and the river Tigris. Heavy rain had made the marsh even more difficult to cross and the river level had risen, consequently the only approach left to the Relief Force was a frontal attack.

In addition to these disadvantages, there was a lack of reliable intelligence on the enemy position and sadly, despite all evidence to the contrary, the ability of the Turkish Army had yet again been underestimated. The initial attack was to be in daylight, following a short bombardment which failed to cut the barbed wire entanglements. The Relief Force advanced into a hail of enemy bullets. The 1/4th Hampshires were particularly invested in the success of the relief mission, as they were determined to get to Kut to release their Hants colleagues besieged there. There were 2,741 casualties at Hanna on the 21st January; the 1/4th Hants were particularly hard hit. 13 out of 16 officers and 275 out of 339 other ranks were casualties that day. Four of our alumni were killed, with another taken prisoner by the Turks. Although Harold is listed as killed in action his fate was unknown for some time. Captain Goddard wrote to the Principal of the College to tell him of their deaths. In the letter he refers to the action as Sheik Saad but we know that it was actually Hanna where they died.

My Dear Principal,

I am very sorry to give you ill news of the fate of our two Companies at Sheik Saad near Kut-al-Amara, on January 21st. The Hampshires seem to have suffered almost the worst. The Turkish Infantry are much better shots than the German, and we hear from all sides that nothing like it was ever seen in Flanders. The Colonel and Adjutant were killed. All Officers and NCO’s being down, a remnant of our fellows reached the trenches. At this point Tarrant and Warne were killed. Purkis and HW Rose are missing, probably losing their way in the darkness.

In a further letter dated 5th March 1916 he wrote again to say that there was no news yet of HW Rose.

Back at home in Chipping Ongar, according to the Essex Newsman paper, the people of Ongar unveiled a war shrine in May 1917.

The unveiling of the Ongar War Shrine took place on Sunday. On it is inscribed nearly 250 names of men now serving, discharged, and dead from the Ongar district. The roll of honour was admirably inscribed by Miss Hadler of Marden Ash. Mrs Charles Rose carried out the secretarial duties in connection with the shrine.

We have no information when the family were told that Harold was presumed dead. Charles Rose was named as his next of kin in the Soldiers effects record with an address given for them as 206 Balaclava Rd, Caulfield, Melbourne, Australia. Charles and his wife had travelled to Melbourne from their home in Southend-on-Sea on the 5th May 1921 on a P and O line ship, the SS Commonwealth.

Panel on the Basra Memorial showing H W Rose photograph from The Hampshire Regimental Museum

Harold is commemorated at Basra. The Ongar roll of honour still exists and is now located at the Essex Record Office.


Researcher and Author: Dee Sayers

Basra War Memorial photograph courtesy of the Royal Hampshire Regimental Museum

From the Students’ Register at the Hampshire Record Office


Ancestry (2018). Home page. [online] Available at: www.ancestry.co.uk [Accessed 2018].

British Newspaper Archive (2018). Essex Newsman – Saturday 19 May 1917. [online] Available at: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk [Accessed 2018].

Crowley, P. (2016). Kut 1916: the forgotten British disaster in Iraq. Stroud: The History Press.

Geograph (2016). High Ongar Primary School. [online] Available at: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/177949 [Accessed 2018].

Kelly’s Directory (1902). Kelly’s Directory of Essex, 1902, p.311. [online] Available at: http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16445coll4 [Accessed 2018].

Vickers, J. University of Winchester Chapel Memorial Rail image.

The William Leach Collection (Various). Records of RSM W.F. Leach including the records of Mrs. E. Bowker [documents, notebooks, photographs and artefacts] The Royal Hampshire Regimental Museum, Winchester.


University of Winchester Archive “ Hampshire Record Office
Reference code Record
47M91W/ P2/4 The Wintonian 1899-1900
47M91W/ P2/5 The Wintonian 1901-1902
47M91W/ P2/6 The Wintonian 1903-1904
47M91W/ P2/7 The Wintonian 1904-1906
47M91W/ P2/8 The Wintonian 1905-1907
47M91W/ P2/10 The Wintonian 1908-1910
47M91W/ P2/11 The Wintonian 1910-1914
47M91W/ P2/12 The Wintonian 1920-1925
47M91W/ D1/2 The Student Register
47M91W/ S5//5/10 Photograph of 5 alumni in Mesopotamia
47M91W/ Q3/6 A Khaki Diary
47M91W/ B1/2 Reports of Training College 1913-1914
47M91W/ Q1/5 Report and Balance Sheets 1904- 1949
47M91W/ R2/5 History of the Volunteers Company 1910
47M91W/ L1/2 College Rules 1920
Hampshire Record Office archive
71M88W/6 List of Prisoners at Kut
55M81W/PJ1 Managers’ Minute Book 1876-1903
All material referenced as 47M91W/ is the copyright of The University of Winchester. Permission to reproduce photographs and other material for this narrative has been agreed by the University and Hampshire Record Office.