Harold Bingham, Private 2021, 7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
(Later transferred to 245288 648th Agricultural Coy. Labour Corps)
Died 6th November 1918 in Cheltenham, aged 31
Harold Bingham was born in Macclesfield in 1887, the son of Harriet and Joseph Henry Bingham, a silk weaver. In 1891, three-year-old Harold was living at 88 Brown Street, Macclesfield, the home of his uncle, with his parents and younger brother Norman, aged 1. By 1901 the family had moved to 16 Chester Road, Macclesfield; Harold’s father had obtained employment as a solicitor’s clerk, and Harold was employed as a silk card lacer.
Harold married Clara Jane Susan Finney on 20 May 1906 at Sunderland Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield. Harold was then employed as a card cutter and living at 262 Hurdsfield Road, while Clara lived at 42 Paradise Street. A son, Norman, was born the following year; by 1911 the family lived at 46 Paradise Street, and Harold was working as a clerk for the Hovis company. It’s likely that, while Harold was away serving during the war, his wife and son lived with her parents.
Harold’s service records have not survived but it is likely that, like his brother Norman, he was a Territorial and was recalled to the local 7th Cheshire Regiment on 6 August 1914. However, after training he was medically examined and found to be in poor health, so he was instead transferred to a labour battalion and sent to the Cheltenham area to work on a farm.
Harold became ill with influenza and died at the Priory V.A.D. Hospital, which was the Cheltenham section of the 6th Southern General Hospital, on 6 November 1918.
Private Bingham’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on Friday 15 November 1918:
PTE HAROLD BINGHAM died of pneumonia at the Priory V.A.D. Hospital, Cheltenham, on the 6th inst. His home was at 42, Paradise St, Macclesfield, and he was the son of Mr and Mrs Bingham, 12 High St. Pte Bingham enlisted in the 7th Batt Ches Regt (T.F.) on 6th August, 1914. After training with the Cheshires during the early months of the war he was transferred to the Royal Warwicks, together with several other Macclesfield men. Soon afterwards he came over on draft leave and expected to proceed to France, but on being re-examined prior to leaving the country it was found that his health was so impaired as to disqualify him for active service.
Later he was transferred to a Labour Battalion and was, at the time of death, employed by Mrs Cook, market gardener, Cheltenham. He was of a very genial and kindly disposition, and his death will be regretted by many friends in Macclesfield. He attended the Centenary and later the Trinity Wesleyan Sunday-schools.
Pte Bingham was interred at the Macclesfield Cemetery on Sunday with military honours. The coffin was of oak with heavy brass mounts and there were many floral tributes. He leaves a wife and one son. Mrs Cook, his employer, in a letter to Mrs Bingham, says: “I can’t tell you how very sorry and sad we are at Harold’s sudden death. He was such a nice fellow and we were very fold of him. We always found him a good workman, never minding what he did, and he did it with right good will and cheerfulness. My son Cyril and those who worked with him are quite stunned with this sad news.”
Private Harold Bingham is buried at Macclesfield Cemetery, Cheshire, in grave ref. P. 13374, marked by a family headstone with the inscription:
IN MEMORY OF
who died Nov 6th 1918
Military Hospital, Cheltenham
aged 31 years
Brother of Norman Bingham, who enlisted with the 7th Cheshire Regiment in February 1911 with service number 1240. He was recalled on 5 August 1914, transferred to the 46th Provisional battalion in 1915, promoted to Lance-Corporal and served in England until February 1916, when he was discharged due to his period of engagement having expired.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Non-conformist & Roman Catholic Marriages (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 15 November 1918