Harold Genders, Private 51445, 1st/6th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 30th March 1918 in France, aged 20
Harold Genders was born in Macclesfield on 2 October 1897 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 31 October 1897, the son of Emma Jane and George Genders, a butcher of 114 Park Lane, Macclesfield. In 1911, thirteen-year-old Harold was living at 94 Bridge Street, Macclesfield with his mother and siblings Grace (12) and George (10), and was employed as a baker’s assistant.
Harold enlisted in Macclesfield on 28 December 1914 with the Army Service Corps. He stated that he lived at 7 Brough Street West, was employed as a bus conductor and was 19 years old (overstating his age by 2 years).
Harold was drafted overseas in 1916, embarking from Southampton on the SS Empress Queen on 28 January 1916 and disembarking at Le Havre the next day.
On 24 September 1917, Harold was transferred to the Cheshire Regiment. He was reported to be wounded and missing between 21 and 30 March 1918 but it was not until eighteen months later, on 8 September 1919, that the War Office was able to confirm that he was killed in action between those dates.
The Red Cross wrote to Harold’s mother on 8 March 1919, informing her that Private C Matson, 40182, 6th Cheshire Regt, of 74 Highfield Cottages, Raunds, Northamptonshire, stated
While in action at Bray, Somme Sector, Genders was wounded, first over the heart and very soon afterwards he was hit again and died instantly. We could not pick him up as we were retiring.
His mother placed an ‘In Memoriam’ notice in the Macclesfield Times on 26 September 1919:
GENDERS – In loving memory of Harold Genders, Pte Ches Regt, who was killed in action in France between March 21st and 30th, 1918, in his 21st year.
We have lost, heaven has gained,
One of the best this earth contained.
From his sorrowing mother and brother George.
Private Harold Genders is commemorated on Panel Ref. 35 and 36 of the Pozieres Memorial, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Harold Genders, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield
WW1 British Army Service Records 1914-1920
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 26 September 1919