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Surname: SNOWDEN

Forename(s): Harold

Place of Birth: Silsden, Yorkshire

Service No: 1718

Rank: Private

Regiment / Corps / Service: King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Battalion / Unit: 1/5th Battalion

Division: 55th (West Lancashire) Division

Age: 20

Date of Death: 1914-10-19

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: South of church.


CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: SILSDEN, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

Harold Snowden was the son of William and Charlotte Annie Snowden, née Atack (spellings of her surname vary), who were married in 1883. William was born at Cowling and Charlotte at Thurgoland, Yorkshire.

1901 Oldham, Lancashire Census: 13, Leach Street - Harold Snowden, aged 7 years, born Silsden, Yorkshire, son of Charlotte Snowden, aged 32 years, born Silsden, Yorkshire (single).

1911 Silsden, Yorkshire Census: 8, Chapel Lane - H. Snowden, aged 17 years, born Keighley, son of C.A. Snowden (married).

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Pte Harold Snowden, 1718, 5th Ser. Bn R. Lancs Regt. T.F. Date and Place of Death: 19.10.14 Didcot. Place of Birth: Silsden near Keighley. Next of kin: Father - William. To whom Authorised/Amount Authorised: Mother - Charlotte H. £2 5s. 9d. Father's request.

Territorial Force Brigades and Divisions were not numbered until May 1915. At the time of Harold's death the 1/5th Bn King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) was part of the North Lancashire Brigade, West Lancashire Division.

On the 14 August 1914 the 1/5th Bn King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) went to Didcot on railway guard duties.

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

SNOWDEN, Harold, son of Mrs. Snowden, Chapel Street, [Silsden], killed on the railway at Didcot Oct. 19, 1914.


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Private Harold SNOWDEN

Private Harold SNOWDEN

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 55th (West Lancashire) Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 55th (West Lancashire) Division

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

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: SNOWDEN

Forename(s): Harold

Born: Keighley


Enlisted: Morecambe

Number: 1718

Rank: Private

Regiment: King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Battalion: 4th Battalion


Died Date: 19/10/14

Died How: Died

Theatre of War: Home


Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: SNOWDEN

Forename(s): Harold

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 1718

Rank: Private

Regiment: King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Unit: 5th Bn.



Died Date: 19/10/1914

Additional Information:



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Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

23 October 1914

SNOWDEN – October 19th at Didcot, the result of an accident, Private Henry Snowden, son of Mrs. Snowden, 3, Chapel Street, Silsden, aged 20 years.

23 October 1914


On Monday morning last a telegram was received at the Town Hall, to the effect that Harold Snowden, 3, Chapel Street, Silsden, had been killed instantly by a passing train at 6 a.m. that morning whilst on duty guarding a bridge near Wanton Road Station, Didcot. Captain Wright, who sent the message, asked that some reliable person should be appointed to inform deceased’s mother. The painful task was undertaken by the Rev. John Berry, M.A.

On Tuesday morning Mrs. Snowden received a letter from the Territorial Record Office, Preston, stating it was their painful duty to inform her that a report had been received by them on the 19th inst. from the Commanding Officer, notifying the death of number 1718, Private Harold Snowden, of the 5th King's Own, which occurred at Didcot on the 19th 0ctober. They expressed to her the sympathy and regret of the Commanding Officer at her loss. The cause of death was ‘killed by a train’.

Private Snowden, who was 20 years of age, joined the army in June last from Morecambe. Soon after the outbreak of war he was sent to Didcot to keep guard over a portion of the railway where he has been located ever since.

In a communication to his mother, dated the 24th September, he says:- “Just a quick line to let you know that I am not dead yet, but I was nearly shot one night when I was out on sentry duty. I challenged someone, and they shot at me, but happily they missed me. I blew my whistle for help and the guard turned out, and we went in search of the person and eventually spotted him. I thereupon shot at him and hit him in the leg, and when we captured him we searched him and found out that he was intent on doing something to the London main line. He also had maps and plans in his possession, but now he has been sent to prison along with a number of other Germans. My officer says that I shall get promoted whenever there is an opportunity for doing my duty.” – H. SNOWDEN.

Private Snowden’s untimely death has prevented his desire for promotion from being realised, and we are sure the inhabitants of Silsden will very much regret to hear of the first death amongst the soldiers who are serving their country from Silsden.

Mrs. Snowden, who lives by herself in Chapel Street, was naturally prostrated with grief on the intimation of the sudden death of her only son. The funeral took place at Didcot on Wednesday afternoon, when deceased was accorded full military honours. Amongst those in attendance from Silsden was the deceased’s mother.

30 October 1914


A detailed account of the funeral of Private Harold Snowden, who was killed on the line at Didcot, on the 19th inst., shows that it was of a most impressive character. The body was interred in the cemetery at Grove. The coffin was placed on a gun-carriage drawn by six horses, and was covered with the Union Jack and deceased’s cap and bayonet. It was preceded by the firing party, with the remainder of the Company following, while the officers present were Major Bates, Capt. Wright, and Lieut. Coupland.

The cortege was met at the gate of the churchyard by the Vicar (the Rev. S. Howard), the Rev. C.J. Pickering (vicar of Denchworth), Mr. R. Harvey (lay reader), and the surpliced choir, and headed by the processional cross, entered the Church, where the first part of the service was conducted by the Rev. C.J. Pickering. While the congregation were being seated, Mr. L.J. Lloyd (organist) played appropriate music. The service opened with the hymn ‘Jesu Lover of my Soul,’ and the choir sang Psalm cxxx.– ‘Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord.’ After the lesson the hymn, ‘Lead, Kindly Light,’ was sung and as the body was being borne to the grave the organist played Chopin’s Funeral March.

The Vicar read the committal prayer, and the Rev. C.J. Pickering took the rest of the service, and at the conclusion the choir sang, ‘O God our help in ages past,’ followed by the firing of three volleys to the honour of a fallen comrade. The whole service was most impressive, and was attended by a large number of people, many of whom were visibly affected. All the houses en route and in the vicinity of the church had blinds lowered as a mark of respect, and great sympathy was expressed with the mother and the aunt of the young soldier, who had made the journey from Silsden to attend the funeral.

The coffin was of polished elm with brass furniture, and bore the following inscription:–

5th Batt. The King’s Own R. L. Regiment.
Killed at Wantage Road,
October 19th, 1914
He did his duty to the very end.

The floral tributes were:– ‘With much love from his sorrowing mother,’ ‘With the sincere sympathy of Capt. W.O. Wright and Lieut. H. Coupland, of ‘E’ Co., 5th Battalion, The King’s Own,’ ‘With deepest sympathy from his Comrades in ‘E’ Co., 5th Batt., The King’s Own R. L. Regiment.’

17 September 1915



On Sunday morning a memorial service was held at the Silsden Primitive Methodist Church in memory of the late Gunner Edward Lund, of the 90th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, who died from wounds sustained at the Dardanelles. Gunner Lund, who formerly resided at 67, Bolton Road, Silsden, was wounded on August 10th, and died in No. 15, General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt, on the 17th of August. There was a good congregation which included a number of deceased’s relatives, Mr. C.H. Fletcher (military representative at Silsden), and Privates J. Brear, J. Bond, J. Gill, T. Hardcastle, Sheldon, junr., Sheldon, sen., Whiteoak, W. Summerscales, C. Summerscales, J. Inman, W. Clarkson, W. Tillotson, Calvert, Locker and Atkinson, of the various West Riding Regiments who were home on leave.

Rev. Wm. Dickinson (pastor) during the service said he was sure he voiced the feelings of the members of the congregation when he said it was with deep regret that they had received the sad intelligence during the last few days of three of their townsmen who had died on the battlefield. They were all exceedingly sorry to hear of the death of Gunner Edward Lund, who died as a result of receiving severe gun shot wounds. Gunner Lund was associated with that Church, and they sympathised with his relatives and friends and prayed that they might be comforted in that their time of great sorrow. He, with others, had laid down his life for his King and Country. There was now a loss of seven brave men from Silsden who had given their lives for the defence of our home and country. The first one was Private Harold Snoddin, [Snowden] who was killed on guard duty, and then followed Private Ben Hodgson, Private Isaac Wade, Private Rhodes Spence, who died on the field in Flanders, and now they had in addition to Gunner Edward Lund, the loss of Private Ernest Hustwick and Private Wm. Gill. The above had been either killed in action or died of wounds. The latter three had been at the Dardanelles. And in addition to those whom they knew who had gone from that little town of Silsden, we had very many brave men who had laid down their lives for King and Country. Some had found a grave in the waters of the great deep, and there could be no marked places as to where they had gone down, and many were laid in unknown graves on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and also on the fields of Flanders. We were thankful for their devoted and self-sacrificing services, and very gratefully paid honourable homage to them as true warriors for their King and for their country.

The hymns, ‘Jesus lover of my soul,’ ‘Just as I am,’ ‘Rock of ages,’ and ‘O God our help in ages past,’ were sung, and the choir sang the anthem ‘Pass thy burden upon the Lord.’ At the close of the service the organist (Mr. Bernard Longbottom) played the ‘Dead March,’ while the congregation remained standing.

24 December 1915


Information has been received of the death of Private Nelson Holmes, of the 6th West Riding Regiment, and son of Mr. Timothy Holmes, of 67, Aire View, Silsden, which took place on the Western Front on December 14th. Second-Lieut. F. Longdon Smith, in a letter received by his father on Monday, states:– “I am very sorry to have to write and tell you that your son Private N. Holmes, of D Company, 6th West Riding Regiment was killed about noon on the day of December 14th. He was on periscope duty at the time, and was fixing his periscope, and must have exposed himself for a second or two and was shot in the head by a sniper. He lived for a few minutes and the stretcher-bearer dressed his wound, but he was never conscious, and from the first we knew there was no hope. On behalf of the Officers, N.C.O.’s and men, I wish to express to you my deepest sympathy in your great loss. Since your son joined us out here he has always shown plenty of pluck and fearlessness, and we are all sorry to lose him.”

Private Holmes, who was only eighteen years of age on the 14th of July last, enlisted on the first day of December of last year. He served a period of training at Skipton, Derby, Doncaster, York, and Thorseby Park, leaving the latter place along with about half-a-dozen Silsden soldiers to go to the Front at the end of June last.

Private Holmes has a brother serving in the same regiment, he going out to the Front along with him. The deceased was a former member of the 1st Silsden Troop of Boy Scouts. This makes the ninth Silsden soldier who has given his life for his country.

The names of the remaining eight are Private Harold Snowden, Private Ben Hodgson, Private Isaac Wade, Private Rhodes Spence, Private W. Gill, Private Ernest Hustwick, Gunner Edward Lund, and Private Jobey Faulkner.

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23 October 1914


Mrs. Snowden, of 3, Chapel Street, Silsden, received word from the Territorial Record Office, Preston of the death of her son, Private Harold Snowden, who was killed by a passing train while on duty guarding a railway bridge at Didcot (Berkshire). He was only 20 years of age. He joined the 5th King’s Own while working at Morecambe last June. The funeral took place at Didcot last Wednesday.

In a letter to his mother, dated September 24, he stated that he was shot at one night while he was on sentry duty. The shot missed him and he blew his whistle for help. The guard turned out and they went in search of the assailant. “We spotted him,” Snowden wrote, “and I shot at him and hit him on the leg. When we got him we searched him and we found he was going to do something on the London main line, he having maps and plans in his possession. He is now in prison along with other Germans. When there is an open place, the officer says I will get promoted for doing my duty. “


The inquest was held the same day.

Sergt. George Russell Snowden, of the 5th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, said he had known deceased since July last. He was 19 years of age and a single man. In private life deceased was a bobbin-turner. Witness last saw deceased alive at 5.50 that morning, when he came to the guard tent and said it was five minutes to six. Witness replied that it was ten minutes to six, and the relieving sentry agreed with him. Witness told deceased he had better go back to his post until he was relieved. Deceased then said it was very cold and that he (witness) ought to have to go up there. Witness replied that he had all his sympathy, but duty was duty. Deceased went out humming a tune, and proceeded to his post. Witness thought that it was a jocular remark that deceased made to him, and he left in a good tempered way. Deceased went on duty at 2 a.m. and previous to that he had been sleeping in the hut. Witness gave each man instructions as to what his duties were, and he was told that when a train was coming he should stand at least ten yards away from the bridge and clear of the line. Deceased had been performing this duty at that spot since October 4th, and previous to that had done similar duty at Wantage Road Station. Written instructions were read over to the men before they went on duty, and printed instructions had been hanging in the hut.

Private Fredrick Jenkinson stated that he was in the hut and heard deceased mention about the time. When deceased went away he seemed in a happy mood. Witness left the hut to relieve deceased at 6 a.m., and on arriving at the bridge, which was close to the hut, saw deceased lying on the embankment by the up line. Witness went to the body and spoke, but got no answer. He then lifted deceased’s coat from off the face, and could see he had been knocked down. Witness thought deceased had put down his rifle and walked clear of the bridge, but that he did not get far enough away from the train

P.C. Smith, stationed at Hanney, having given evidence. Captain Wright stated that deceased was of a happy disposition and quite steady. This was the third man of witness’s company who had been killed. He did not know what steps could be taken to avoid the danger. He believed there were two trains passing at the time of the accident.

Several suggestions were put forward by the jury, who eventually brought in a verdict of ‘Accidental death’. They agreed that no blame should be attached to anyone, and they recommended that orders be given that when a train was passing the soldier on guard should stand perfectly still for ten minutes after the train had gone, so that be might be able to see if another train was coming in the opposite direction.

The Coroner and jury expressed their sympathy with the officers and men, and with the relatives of deceased.

24 December 1915


Pte. Harold Snowden, 5th King’s Own, killed on the railway at Didcot on October 19th 1914, aged 20 years. Son of Mrs. Snowden, Chapel Street, Silsden.

28 July 1916


Since the war commenced Silsden has lost fourteen of her gallant fighting sons while serving their King and Country. Their names are:–Pte. Ben Hodgson, Pte. Rhodes Spence, Pte. Isaac Wade, Pte. J. Faulkner, Pte. Nelson Holmes, Gunner Edward Lund, Pte. Ernest Hustwick, Pte. Wm. Gill, Pte. Harold Snoddin [Snowden] (killed on the railway while on guard duty in the country), Pte. Thomas Stanley Wrigglesworth, Pte. John Gill, Sergt. John Baldwin, Pte. Robt. Reed, and Pte. Herbert Harper.

05 January 1917


An intercession and memorial service for the fallen heroes in the war was held at the Silsden Primitive Methodist Church on Sunday evening last. There was a large congregation, and the officiating minister was Rev. Wm. Dickinson (pastor). During the service the hymns 'O God our help in ages past,’ ‘Lord God of hosts, Whose Almighty hand,’ ‘God the all terrible! King Who ordainest,’ and ‘When wilt Thou save the people’ were sung. Miss Clara Fortune also ably sang the solo ‘O rest in the Lord,’ and at the close of the service the organist (Mr. Bernard Longbottom) played the ‘Dead march’ in ‘Saul,’ and the National Anthem was sung.


Preaching from the text Psalm 46, 9th verse, ‘He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth,’ Mr. Dickinson said it seemed almost superfluous to say in this sad day in which we lived that war was a serious and harmful thing. It was, however, a great outstanding fact. When they looked at the expense even in times of peace, when nations made preparations for war, it was even then a great expense, but in days of actual warfare as to-day, when the nation was spending at least £5,000,000 a day, then it was that they were reminded that war was a serious thing from a financial point of view. They tried to have dreams or visions as to what would have been done with that money for philanthropic purposes and for the social amelioration of the people of this country, but the country had put those dreams or visions in the back ground. Then we had the cruelty of it, and the passions that it excited. It marched to hunger and thirst and wounds and death. Then we had the bereavements. Children were made orphans, women were made widows, and parents mourned over children and many were left childless. Then we also had the deplorable feelings produced by war, feeling of revenge, feelings that produced quarrelsomeness, a desire for power and an unholy lust of ambition. That was seen by the works of the great Napoleon, and also by the Kaiser and the Prussian War Lords. The question that now forced itself to the front was ‘Is all war morally wrong?’ We had a very high ideal, and we believed that war was all wrong. They read in the Old Book that David was not allowed to build the temple of the Lord because his hands had been stained by blood, and he was spoken of as a man of war. But, in these days we had to look at actual facts. What was the actual state today? When one side would prepare for war and was determined to declare war, what then could we do? That great poet in Russia called Tolstoy preached the doctrine of being passive, but when we came to think of it, could we be passive? If our homes were to be destroyed and our wives and children to be taken from us, could we be passive? Did it not arouse within us that spirit of manhood that we must assert ourselves and that we must fight? If we were not prepared to do that, all he could think was that we were cowards. They ought to bury their heads and be ashamed of themselves. In days of peace with one breath they would denounce all war, and yet in the very next breath they would ask the question why the Congo atrocities were not stopped even if force were necessary. To-day they looked upon a devastated Serbia, Montenegro, Belgium, and alas Roumania, and they came to the conclusion that there were worse things than war – Armenia and the Congo, and the slavery of the South Americans; and what would have been the slavery of Europe had it not been for the call to arms in a cause that was just and righteous?


If it were not for that conviction that the cause for which they were at war was just and righteous, many of them would have failed to preach, to pray, or to look to God. But, it was that which gave them strength that they looked to him Who was the present help and refuge in their trouble. In their fight against war whom should they attack? Often in the past the attack was made upon the soldier. They could not do that to-day as far as this country war concerned. They had a great civilian army, and they were fighting for freedom, for righteousness, and for justice. They never wanted to be soldiers, they never wanted to fight, but the call had come and they could do no other. Who made war, and why should there be war? Not the soldier. In the days that were gone, it was more the civilian than the soldier, the civilian because he was represented by his Parliament and that Parliament as the representative of the civilian often made war, because the lust for power and the lust for gold had got hold of them. Then in the commercial world, amongst what was known as the ruling classes, there was generally speaking a disposition to make war because there was the old saying that trade followed the flag. The soldier fought because he was ordered to do. It was neither Roberts, Kitchener, nor Buller who made the Boer War. If anybody made it, it was Kruger, Milner, and Chamberlain, and it was made because they had greed for power, and an unholy ambition and wish for gold. If they went back through the pages of history, they would find that that was the source of war as far as this country was concerned. He had come to the conclusion that the man who shouted for war had an axe to grind. The man who shouted for war ought to be made to go and face the music and not to send others. What did soldiery stand for? Generally speaking it stood for the aggressive, the quarrelsome, the brute force. They could not say that of the civilian army that had been raised by this country. They were not aggressive, they were not quarrelsome, and neither could they say that they were asserting brute force. He was sorry to have to say it of the Central Powers where conscription had been reigning for so many years. It was the brute force and the aggressive power that they would have to abolish. But when they had said that, they were bound to come to the conclusion that


The soldier side by side with the doctor stood to give his life for his country and that was a great deal. He would advise anyone to pause before he sneered at a soldier. He stood between them and the enemy, and if it had not been for the brave men who had stood thus, where would they have been to-day? They had no words too high in their commendation and admiration and love for the civilians of this Empire, who had stood between them and the enemy in this time of crisis. The question came to each one of them what was their position and what were they doing in the national crisis that was before them, and still after all they came to the conclusion that the soldier's life as they saw it to-day was a regrettable necessity, that all those brave men should have to shoulder the musket and defend our shores and fight for the freedom, righteousness, and justice of a cause that none of them disputed. They regretted in this the 20th century that such a thing should have happened. It ought not to have come to pass, and it never would have come to pass if the great Central Powers of Europe had taken heed of the sayings of Christ, and had seen His crucified hands instead of the mailed fist, and if they had listened to His beatitudes instead of the philosophy of the German teachers. How were they to lessen those evils? They must attack the root, that lust for power, that quarrelsome spirit, and that unholy ambition that had dominated the great Central Powers. How were they to attack the root? By educating the people for peace at the proper time, and that perhaps was not just yet. It was an easy matter to give descriptions of the horrors of war, to speak of its abominations, and even to denounce statesmen and people who sanctioned war, but how few people there were who searched for methods by means of which war could be put down and destroyed. When the history of the war and the part which the British Empire had taken in it came to be written – he was not a prophet or the son of a prophet – he ventured to say that the writer would pay a fine testimony to the ex-Foreign Minister of this country (Sir Edward Grey) who night and day at the beginning or before the declaration of war strove with all the brain power he had, and with every ounce of strength, he could put in, to avert this great catastrophe. If to-day he was in the back ground, he would looked upon as one of the finest statesmen this country ever had. On what lines were they to educate people for peace? There was a form of Government not only to arrest this demon war, but to bind him in chains. What was it? A cosmopolitan administration or a great Federal Government of the world. They might be dreamers, but certainly there would come a day either in London, Paris, or New York, when there would be a great Federal Government, and that Government would help them to the day when wars would cease.


Proceeding, Mr. Dickinson said he was sure he was voicing the feelings of all present when he said they sympathised very deeply with the families of Pte. Percy Kellett and Lance-Corpl. T.C. Green, both of whom were in hospital suffering from wounds. They prayed for their speedy recovery, and also that their parents and relatives might he comforted. Then they had Ptes. Bernard Locker and Gannett Longbottom, who were reported as missing, and it was hoped that before long good news would be heard of them. They had to add two other names – Pte. Dan Faulkner and Gunner W.H. Sutcliffe, both of whom had been killed in action – to their list of fallen who had been intimately associated with their church and Sunday-school. Mr. Dickinson then read a list of Silsden soldiers who had died serving their King and Country. They were as follows:– Pte. Harold Snoddin [Snowden], Pte. B. Hodgson, Pte. I. Wade, Pte. R. Spence, Pte. E. Hustwick, Gunner E. Lund, Pte. W. Gill, Pte. J. Faulkner, Pte. N. Holmes, Pte. R. Read, Pte. J. Gill, Pte. S. Wrigglesworth, Sergt. J. Baldwin, Sergt. R. Hill, Pte. Wm. Richmond, Pte. W.H. Teale, Corpl. F. Taylor, Pte. H. Harper, Pte. D. Faulkner, and Gunner W.H.Sutcliffe.

Mr. Dickinson also read the church's roll of honour, which comprised 110 names.

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