439920 L/Corporal (Signaler) Harold Couch.

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42nd (East Lancashire), Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers.

Awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of 17 June 1919 (Gazette number 63).

Couch was a native of Burnley, Lancashire.

The Burnley Express reported, PROMISING CAREER CUT SHORT. Heroic Devotion to Duty. In the death of Lance - Corporal (Signaler) Harold Couch, 439920, RFA, the town has lost one of the most promising men. He was a weaver at Grey's Cameron Mill, but in his younger days - always of a studious nature - he was a student at the textile classes at the Burnley Technical School, and won high honours, ending by "passing out" of the Manchester College, thus qualifying for the position of manager, which he would probably have attained to but for the war. At Whitsuntide, 1915, he regarded it was the duty of all young men to help their country, and volunteered; joining up at once. Going out to Egypt at Christmas 1915, he spent 12 months in the desert, and saw service in Palestine, after which he was drafted to France, where he has been for a year and ten months. In that period he has been twice gassed slightly and was wounded slightly on the Monday before he was killed. On joining the Forces he was a Gunner in the RFA (Blackburn), and was transferred to a Signaler, passing first class whilst in Egypt, and later, in France, he was transferred to the Royal Engineers, but still attached to the artillery as a signaler.

The deceased soldier, who was 25 in September, was the older of two sons, and was highly respected. Mr. and Mrs. Couch who reside at 53, North Street, have received beautiful letters of sympathy from his officer, chaplain and a comrade bearing testimony to the respect in which he was held in the battery and giving details of the sad event. The Rev. C. R. Duppuy stated that the soldier was killed early in the morning of the 23rd October. They were living in the large basement or cellar, the writer being in the next room. There was a heavy shelling, one shell coming through the roof and spreading its splinters around , one of which killed Couch instantly. He was a favorite with everyone, being always bright. "Only the previous Saturday," the Chaplain writes, "I went with him and his officer to within a short distance of our front line, preparing for an important and difficult piece of work the next day, which was duly carried through, and all were delighted when everyone engaged came back safely. Your son did splendidly. He was hit by a shell splinter, but not much hurt, and carried on to the end of the action carrying on his work as cheerful as ever. The brightness of your boys life will be an inspiration to others." 2/Lieutenant Wilson wrote: - "I was struck by the splendid way he worked, and he was killed after over 56 hours of splendid work and devotion to duty. On the 22nd he came out with me, following up the infantry for information and risking his life many times. He was a splendid fellow and his loss grieves me as much as the other boys." Bombardier Benvie said he had lost a friend indeed - meeting him was one of the bright spots of my life - I have lost that which promised to be a life long friendship. The deceased soldier attended St. Andrew's Church and Sunday School, and was on the roll of honour. A memorial service is to be held tomorrow morning. He was home on leave seven weeks ago, and sent home a postcard on the day before he was killed. Lance - Corporal Couch is the fifth member of the family to lose his life, and Mr. and Mrs. Couch have eight nephews and other relatives still serving.

Condolence Certificate awarded to the next of kin by the Borough of Burnley.

Harold Couch's original wooden grave marker in Belle Vue British Cemetery, Briastre.

Harold Couch's new grave marker in Belle Vue British Cemetery, Briastre. This photograph of the grave was sent to the family of Harold Couch by the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1927 along with a copy of the Cemetery Register.

The entry in the register records that COUCH, Lance - Corporal, Harold, 439920, M.M. 42nd Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers. Killed in action 23rd October 1918. Aged 25. Son of Philip and Mary Ann Couch, of 53, North Street, Burnley. His grave position is in row B, number 26.

Silk book mark memorial to Harold Couch. The verse reads, "In our home you are fondly remembered, Sweet memories cling round your name, True hearts that always loved you will always be the same, He needed no second bidding, He answered his countries call, He has given his life for his country, And the welfare of us all". From a sorrowing Father, Mother and Brother.