CAREER CUT SHORT Heroic Devotion to Duty. (Burnley Express 09/11/18)
In the death of Lance Corporal (Signaller) Harold Couch, 439920, Royal
Field Artillery, the town has lost one of its most promising young 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 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 as 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 twelve 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 was twice slightly gassed,
and was wounded slightly the Monday before he was killed.
On joining the Forces he was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery (Blackburn),
and was transferred to a signaller, passing first class while in Egypt,
and later while in France, he was transferred to the Royal Engineers,
but still attached as a signaller in the Royal Field Artillery. The deceased
soldier, who was 25 years of age in September was the older of two sons,
and was highly respected.
Mr & Mrs Couch, who reside at 53 North Street, have received beautiful
letters of sympathy, etc, from his Officer, Chaplain, and a comrades bearing
testimony to the respect in which he was held by the Battery, and giving
details of the sad event. The Reverent C. R. Duppey, stated that the soldier
was killed early in the morning of October 23rd. They were living in a
large cellar, or basement and the writer was in the next room. There was
a heavy shelling, and a shell went through the roof and splinters spread
and killed Lance Corporal Couch instantly. He was a favourite with everyone,
being always bright. “Only on 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 all engaged came back safely. Your son did splendidly. He was hit
by a splinter, but not much hurt, and to the end carried on his work as
cheerfully as ever. The brightness of your boy’s life will be an
inspiration to others”.
Second 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 went 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 rest of the boys.”
Bombardier Benvie said he had lost a friend indeed “to meet him
was one of the bright spots in my life, and 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 services to be held tomorrow
morning. He was home on leave seven weeks ago, and sent home a postcard
the day before he was killed.
Lance Corporal Couch is the fifth member of the family to lose his life,
and Mr & Mrs Couch have eight nephews serving, and other relatives
ROLL OF HONOUR
COUCH-Killed in action, October 23, 1918, Lance Corporal (Signaller) Harold
East Lancashire Engineers, attached Royal Field Artillery, aged 25 years.
In our home you are fondly
Sweet memories cling round your name;
True hearts that way always loved you,
Will always be the same.
-From sorrowing Farther, Mother, and Brother, 53, North Street.