In Memoriam: Harold Green

Photograph of Harold Green in uniform.
Harold Green

Harold Green was killed in action in France on 28th February 1917, aged 24 years.

He was born at Lurgan in Northern Ireland in 1892 and attended Bootham School from 1905 to 1909.

Harold was keen on sports at school.  He was in the Cricket 1st XI (Captain) and Football 1st XI’s at school. He won 2nd prize for Gymnastics in the 1906 Athletics Open competitions at Bootham. In 1907, he won the Junior Two length and One length races in the Aquatics competiton .  He was Captain of Fives and was winner of the Fives championship at school in 1908.

“Bootham” magazine of May 1909 includes football notes by the Captain: “GREEN, H.—Has developed into a tower of strength, and even shows considerable speed.  Always in the way of an enterprising forward.  His kicking is precise, calm, and very well judged.”

Harold was also on the committees of the school Photographic Club and the Reading and Discussion Society.

“Bootham” of May 1909 reported that: “HAROLD GREEN (1905- ) has passed the Matriculation Examination, 2nd Division, of the University of London.”  The October 1909 edition reported that Harold Green had won the school Economics prize.

As he left Bootham, the magazine reported:

“HAROLD GREEN leaves from the College Class, having passed Matric. Winner of Economics Prize. Captain of cricket eleven, full-back on 1st football XL, fives captain, was two years a reeve.”  (A Reeve is equivalent to Prefect.)

By March 1916, “Bootham” magazine reports in School War Lists: “Green, H., Despatch Rider, Mechanical Transport, A.S.C.”

Then in March 1917, “Bootham” magazine tells us that H Green fell in action on 28th Feb 1917.

In June 1917, “Bootham” reports:

GREEN.—On the 28th February, 1917 (killed in action in France), Harold Green (1905-9). Aged 24 years.


“H. GREEN (1905-09). His relatives have kindly allowed us to see the following :

A fellow officer came across him after they had gone over the parapet, and writes :

I was speaking to him for a long time and we were looking around getting our bearings when I turned my head to look to the side for a few seconds. When I looked back I noticed Green down and got down immediately. I had never seen death before, yet I knew that he was dead when I looked a t him. . . . I found after that he had been hit through the heart; there was no doubt he had died instantaneously. . . . You should be very proud of your son as he had seen a lot of fighting with his battalion and was a favourite and very respected by everyone.

Some of those who knew him in harness at Bessbrook before the war have written :

I want to express on behalf of all in the Mill down to the youngest child our sympathy with you. We were all fond of Harold. I never knew him do a dishonourable act and we were closely associated. He was a credit to his father and mother. In the passing he has taken with him the greatest asset, a noble character.

Another wrote :

Having worked alongside Harold in the Mill, I can truly say that every workman would have done anything for him, for his genial manner and good nature left their work and influence on Bessbrook, which will bear and has borne fruit. I am sorry this cold paper will not express what I would like to say, but if you had been in Bessbrook yesterday, and seen the tears shed for Harold that I saw, then you would understand how Bessbrook is taking the loss of one of her best citizens.”

Harold Green is remembered on the Thiepval memorial in France and also on the Bessbrook War Memorial, County Armagh.