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Private Charles Harold King

13653 5th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment)

Private C H KingSon of Mr George & Mrs Emma King

Aged 28 years

Died 24th May 1915

Commemorated on Vimy Memorial

Born Rushden, enlisted Canada.
Served four years with 1st Northants Volunteer Brigade.
Research by Bill Bates

Enlisted 22nd September 1914, aged 28 years and 4 months, height 5'4½", girth 37½ (2½), fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 4 June 1915, transcibed by Miss Bates

Rushden Man Killed - Private Harold King - Of the Canadian Contingent

Pte Harold King, of the 1st Canadian Contingent, son of the late Mr George King, Wellingborough road, Rushden, son of Mrs George King, of 40, Moor road, Rushden, has, we regret to say, been killed in action. Four years ago the deceased left Rushden for Canada to join his brother Stanley, who had emigrated to Canada two years previously. On the outbreak of war Harold joined the 1st Canadian Contingent, and came to England with the rest. He came to stay for a short time at Rushden with his mother, and was accompanied by a chum, Pte Andrew Baldwin. Pte King, who was 27years of age, and was unmarried, safely went through the great battle of May 9th without a scratch. On May 23rd he sent his mother a field postcard to say he was quite well, and the next day he was killed. The first intimation Mrs King had of the sad event was on Tuesday last, when she received the following letter from Lieut L F Page, dated May 29:
"Dear Madam, — You will have heard by this time of the death in action of your son, Pte H King. I wish to write you a few lines to express my deep sympathy with you in your sorrow.  King has been with me ever since Valcartia, and I always found him a good soldier and very cheery. He was killed in a charge on a strong German position, which we captured on May 24th.  We recovered his body and buried him. You have every reason to be proud of him. Even in your sorrow you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did not hesitate to make the great sacrifice your country asked. Would that all mothers were like you. If I can give you any further information please ask me for it." On Wednesday Mrs King received the following letter from her son's pal, Pte Andrew Baldwin (now wounded and in Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden, Taplow, Bucks), as follows:—
"I have received a letter from one of my pals at the front.  He says that they were in a severe engagement and lost heavily. Probably you have heard bad news before this letter reaches you. Harold is officially reported missing. I hope that he has been taken prisoner. This chap who wrote me said the last time he saw him he was going over the parapet of our trench in the charge. I sympathise deeply with you in your sorrow and trust that some day he will turn up. I hope your father and mother and the boys are well.  It grieves me to write this letter.  I do not know what to write, but Iassure you my heartfelt sympathy goes out to you all."
In view of Lieut Page's letter, however, there is unfortunately no room to doubt that Pte King met his dearth in May24th. In his last letter to his mother, written on May 19th, Pte King said: "A line, as I know you will be anxious about me. I am all right so far, thank God. I guess you have heard from Andy [Baldwin] by this time; you must get him to tell you all about the battle. It is a wonder there are any of us left to write at all, but I guess it is all in the game. Everyone here will be glad when it is all over. I think half the people at home do not realise what it is out here. It has been raining again for three days, and mud up to our knees — that is what we have to fight in — but we keep smiling, or, at least try to.  I guess I shall be in the firing line again soon, so that, if you do not get any mail from me for a while, keep a good heart."
In a letter two days previously (May 17) he refers to Pte Andrew Baldwin and adds: "I hear he is to be mentioned in dispatches, but do not know how true it is. There is a service for our dead comrades, so I think I will close, and go to it." On May 7th he mentioned that Pte Baldwin had been wounded and he asked that the "Rushden Echo" be sent to him. Deceased's father, the late Mr George King, was a highly respected resident of Rushden, and he was one of the founders of the Rushden Independent Wesleyan Mission. Deceased's brother, Pte Stanley King, who joined one of the Canadian contingents, has not yet left Winnipeg. Mrs King desires to return her sincere thanks to the many friends for their kind expressions of sympathy with her in her great bereavement.

Evening Telegraph, Friday 4th June 1915, transcribed by John Collins.

Another Rushden Hero Killed

We record with deep regret the sad news that Pte. Harold King, second son of the late Mr G King, of Rushden, has been killed on the battlefield. Before enlisting in the 2nd Canadian Light Horse last August, Pte Harold King had spent 3½ years in Canada, and was formerly well known and liked in Rushden. He came over to England with the first Canadian Contingent, and after spending a short time at home was sent to the front. His regiment was changed from the 2nd Light Horse to the 2nd Infantry. The last communication received by the mother, Mrs King, of Moor road, was a field postcard from him, in which he stated that he was getting on well. This card was written on the 23rd of May. Mrs King has just received a very sympathetic letter from Pte King's lieutenant, who disclosed the sad news that the body was found and buried on May 24th . The officer paid a high tribute to the deceased hero, and stated that he was a very fine soldier. Pte King's elder brother is the rector of Northampton, West Australia. Our deepest sympathies are with all the relatives in their sad bereavement.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 11 June 1915, transcribed by Miss Bates

The Late Pte Harold King

1st Canadian contingent, killed in action, on May 29th, as reported in last week's "Rushden Echo." Deceased, the son of Mrs George King, of 40, Moor road, Rushden, was formerly in the R Company (Higham Ferrers) of Volunteers.

The Wellingborough News, Friday 11 June 1915,transcribed by Miss Bates

Trench Comrades - One Killed and the Other Wounded

Private Harold King, the soldier standing, is the second son of the late Mr George King and Mrs King, of Moor road, Rushden, who has been killed in action. He enlisted in the Canadian Light Horse, after spending 3½ years in Canada. He came over with the first Canadian contingent, and after a short time at home went to the front. The other soldier is Pte King's trench friend, Pte Andrew Baldwin, who was wounded and hopes to visit Rushden shortly to see Mrs King, and tell how her hero son died.

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