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Surname: COLLEY

Forename(s): Harold

Place of Birth: Bradford, Yorkshire

Service No: ---

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

Regiment / Corps / Service: Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)

Battalion / Unit: 'D' Coy 18th (Service) Battalion. (2nd Bradford)

Division: 31st Division

Age: ---

Date of Death: 1916-07-01

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 2 A 2 C and 2 D.

CWGC Cemetery: ---


Non-CWGC Burial: ---


Local War Memorial: SKIPTON, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

Harold Colley (born 3 March 1891) was the son of William Henry and Harriet Colley, née Pulleyn. William was born at Bradford and Harriet at Goldsdborough, Yorkshire.

1891 Bradford, Yorkshire Census: 19, Osborne Street - Harold Colley, aged 1 month, born Bradford, son of William H. and Harriet Colley. [Harold had a twin brother, John.]

1901 Bradford, Yorkshire Census: 879, Barkerend Road - Harold Colley, aged 10 years, born Bradford, son of William H. and Harriet Colley.

1911 Bradford, Yorkshire Census: 879, Barkerend Road - Harold Colley, aged 20 years, born, Bradford, son of William Henry and Harriet Colley.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Pte Harold Colley, 2955, I. of C., O.T.C. [Inns of Court Officers' Training Corps]; 2/Lt W. York. R. Discharged to commission: 1.4.15. Theatre of War first served in: Egypt. Date of entry therein: 22.12.15. K. in A. missing 1.7.16. Correspondence: Address 1: (Father) W.H. Colley Esq. 879, Moor Park Terrace, Bradford. Address 2: W.H. Colley (Father) 37, Victoria Gardens, Horsforth, Leeds.

British Army WW1 Medal and Award Rolls: 2 Lieut H. Colley, W. Yorks Regiment. Missing 1.7.16.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: 2 Lt H. Colley, 18 West Yorks Regt. Date and Place of Death: Death accepted on or since 1.7.16. To whom issued/Amount: Sole Executor - William Henry Colley Esq. £63 10s. 0d.

UK, WW1 Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923: 2nd Lt Harold Colley, West Yorks. Claimant: ? Colley. Relationship to Man: Mother. Claimant's Address: C/O Rev. George Colley, Great Bentley Vicarage, Colchester.

The informal title of the 18th (Service) Bn Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) (2nd Bradford) was the 2nd Bradford Pals.

Harold is commemorated in the 'City of Bradford Great War 1914-1918 Roll of Honour' and on the Hanson Higher Grade Council School War Memorial, Bradford.

A short biography of Harold is included in: ‘A Grammar School at War – The Story of Ermysted’s Grammar School during the Great War’ by Steven Howarth (2007).

Photograph courtesy of Ermysted’s Grammar School Archive.

Data Source: Local War Memorial


Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

COLLEY, Harold A. [Additional]


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2nd Lieutenant Harold COLLEY

2nd Lieutenant Harold COLLEY

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 31st Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 31st Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: COLLEY

Forename(s): Harold





Rank: 2/Lt

Regiment: Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)

Battalion: 18th Battalion


Died Date: 01/07/16

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War:


Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: COLLEY

Forename(s): Harold

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number:

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)

Unit: 18th Bn.



Died Date: 01/07/1916

Additional Information:

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BRITISH BATTALIONS ON THE SOMME, by Ray Westlake (Pen & Sword Books Limited 1994)

18th (Service) Bn. Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) (2nd Bradford)

Moved forward from Bus-lès-Artois with 15th and 16th West Yorkshire during night (30/6). Attack on Serre (1/7) – followed 15th and 16th into action suffering over 400 casualties.

[Harold Colley was one of the casualties on the 1st July 1916.]

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966


COLLEY Harold of 879 Moor Park-terrace Bradford a second-lieutenant in the West Yorkshire regiment died on or since 1 July 1916 in France Probate Wakefield 12 May to William Henry Colley company secretary. Effects £195 18s. 9d.


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Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

28 July 1916

COLLEY – July 1st, killed in action in France, Second-Lieut. Harold Colley, West Yorkshire Regiment, of Bradford, a former assistant master at the Skipton Grammar School.

28 July 1916


Second-Lieutenant Harold Colley, West Yorkshire Regiment, who was a few years ago an assistant master at the Skipton Grammar School, has, it is feared, perished in the recent advance on the Western Front.

The Corporal (now wounded and in hospital) who assumed command when Lieut. Colley fell and apparently was the last person to speak to him, thus writes to the parents of Lieut. Colley at Bradford:– “On the glorious 1st of July, which I shall never forget, your son was next to me when he gave the command ‘Ready, boys; up the ladder and over the trench like one man.’ We all had our eyes on him, for he was our leader. We got about 200 or 300 yards when, I am sorry to say, he fell only a yard from me, and the last I saw and heard of him was while he lay on the ground. He shouted in the midst of a hellish fire, shouted ‘Onward, McLaughlin! Good-bye and good luck!’ My God! these words spurred us on, in spite of the heavy fire from machine and artillery, to do or die; teeth set, eyes straight in front of us–rifle firmly held–on we went. Those words from your dear son inspired us.”

Lieutenant Colley’s Captain (who is also wounded) writes:– “If you have further news I should be glad to have it, as your son was in my company always, and we all were very proud of his courage and absolute coolness on many occasions in France. He was many times over the ‘lid’ on dangerous night work–wiring, or patrol work–never excited, always cool and smiling over it. His platoon, and, in fact, every man in the company, would have gone anywhere with him, as they had such confidence in him. Our Colonel (who was killed in the same action) I know had great faith in him, and only a few days before he went over repeated to me the high opinion in which he held him, and in which we all shared in the ‘D’ Company, knowing him so well.”

The new Commanding Officer of the battalion writes:– “I enclose report about your son, which is the best evidence procurable. Unless he is home by now (and we have no information from the base that he has passed through wounded) I fear you must accept the worst. Believe me, he died gallantly and in a fine cause, and was a perfectly splendid officer, with all the dash and gallantry in the trenches which are so needed in these days. He had just been specially selected intelligence officer for the regiment, and was getting along very well. What the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the – did on that day will never be forgotten, and your boy is one of those who have helped to make history and the foundation of the tradition for the – West Yorkshires. I fear sympathy from a stranger as myself is of poor solace to you and his mother. I will conclude, but, believe me, the battalion has lost a great friend, a gallant soldier, and a fine gentleman.”
The Adjutant’s report states that no man in the company actually saw Lieutenant Colley dead. The stretcher-bearers had not seen him. Several men report that he was first wounded by a bullet in the mouth. Two men stated that they lifted Lieutenant Colley off the ‘lid’ into the first-line trench. He was badly wounded by shrapnel in the back, and in their opinion was dying fast, and they thought the wound had reached his lungs. He was not afterwards seen. The R.A.M.C. men may have brought him in, or he may have been buried in the frontline trench, which was flattened out.

One of the observers writes from hospital:– “I was under Lieutenant Colley as observer… He took three of us up to the trenches previous to the attack, and was just in time to bandage up five chaps who were wounded by a shell. Although we were expecting some more over he stayed with them till they were moved, and made us clear away.”

04 August 1916


At their day of all days did they think with pride and love of those who – some of those so recently in their midst playing their games, sharing their work, living their life, learning their ideals – had carried these ideals on to the field of battle to fight for King and Country as once they fought for their school. It was impossible to give them a full list of all old boys who had joined the Colours, but they owed it to the memory of these heroes of the Skipton Grammar School who had so willingly given their lives to the Empire to do public honour and reverence to their names.

The following old boys and masters had died on active service:–

Lieut. C. W. Brown, Sergt. J. Cockerill, Second-Lieut. H. Colley, Major M. T. Cookson, Lieut. H. Knowles, Second-Lieut. J. C. McIntyre, Lieut. E.J.C. Supple, Pte. F. Thornton, Second-Lieut. Ian Wilson

Let their example, and the example of all their sons who had so freely responded to their country’s call, be the dominant thought in this their day of thanksgiving. God give them grace to keep the tradition that they had made for them.

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West Yorkshire Pioneer Logo

19 March 1915

Skipton Grammar School Roll of Honour

Corrections and additions

† Addition
* Correction

† H. Colley (Master) Inns of Court O.T.C.
† J.P.Y. Dickey, 2nd Lieut., 10th Lancashire Fusiliers
*R.G.A. Dickey, 2nd Lieut., 5th (R) Manchester Regiment
† A. Goodman, 2nd Lieut., 5th East Lancashire Regiment
† A.E.P. Leak, Gunner, R.F.A.
* Oswald Leak, Electrician. H.M.S. ‘Scotia’
*J.C. McIntye, 2nd Lieut., Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
*G.S. McKay, 2nd Lieut., R.F.A.
*H. Mallinson, Corporal, Welsh Fusiliers
*Chris Maudsley, Pte., A.S.C.
*C.G.M. Morris (Master) 2nd Lieut., 9th Royal Berkshire Regiment
*J. Pethybridge, 2nd Lieut., Royal Engineers
*Alfred Waddington, 2nd Lieut., 5th East Lancashire Regiment
*Alan Wilson, Lieut., R.A.M.C. in charge of 4 batteries, Lahore Division of Indian Army
*Alec Wilson, 2nd Lieut., Herefordshire Regiment (Service Batt.)
*Colin Wilson, Lieut., R.A.M.C. in charge of 4 batteries, Royal Garrison Artillery
*Leslie Wilson, Sub-Lieut., R.N.R. (sub-mariner)

14 December 1917


A Fifteenth Century Foundation – War Memorial Proposed


Wednesday’s proceedings were opened with a service in commemoration not only of the founders and benefactors of the school but also of the gallant men who formerly passed through the school and who had given their lives for their country in the present war. The service was conducted by the headmaster (Rev. F.G. Forder) in the big school and there was a good attendance of old boys and others interested in the school. The names of the fallen heroes are as follows:– 2nd Lieut. T.B. Bellamy, Captain C.D. Bennett, 2nd Lieut. T.D. Broughton, Captain C.W. Brown, Gunner Philip Brown, Corporal H.S. Caw, Sergt. J. Cockerill, 2nd Lieut. H. Colley (master), Major M.E. Cookson, 2nd Lieut. E.G. Goodman, 2nd Lieut. F.H. Gill, Private W. Hartley, Rifleman W.M. Jowett, Lieut. H. Knowles, 2nd Lieut. C.H. Lee (master), 2nd Lieut. J.C. McIntyre, Captain J.B. McKay, Lance-Corporal A.J. Metcalfe, J.H. [E.] Metcalfe, Private E. Platt, Private C.T.W. Rigby, 2nd Lieut. W.A. Rodwell, Sergt. A.F. Ryder, Lieut. E.J.C. Supple (master), Private F. Thornton, Rifleman H. Tindall, Sergt. H. Walker, Gunner Herbert Watson, 2nd Lieut. Alec Wilson, Private Cameron Wilson, 2nd Lieut. Ian Wilson.

Among the old boys who have gained distinctions are the following:– Military Cross, Second-Lieutenant J.G. Berry, Second-Lieutenant J.B. Hartley, Captain J.T. Hurst, Lieut. P. Jowett, Lieut. J. Petty, and Capt. T.B. Pollard (master); Distinguished Conduct Medal, Corpl. W.A. Murgatroyd; Mentioned in Despatches, Lieut. J. Pethybridge, Capt. Allan Wilson, and many others.

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