Contributed by: Markus Caruana, on 2008-11-08
|Year of Birth||1899|
|Year of Death||1969|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Smethwick, West Midlands|
My Grandfather Harold Westwick was born in November 1899, and lived in Kitchener Street in Smethwick. He married my Grandmother Rose Hartley in the early 1920's and he moved into the family home at No: 7 Avery Road Smethwick. They had six children children, three boys Harry, Frank (who were twins) and Michael. The three girls were Rose, Ruth (my Mother) and Cynthia.
Harold Westwick enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in August 1914 at the age of 15 years and 9 month under a false name. Harold had to use a false name because it was illegal to enlist into the army underage. In some cases it was punishable by death. However, the main reason for giving a false name was so his father wouldn't be able to find him.
Harold and his father had, had a falling out, the reason for this is unknown, but harolds deterination to join the army saw him enlist into the Worcestershire Regiment just the identity of a friend named Jimmy Clark who lived in Wellington Street, Smethwick.
inevitably his father did trace him and I suspect it was with the help of Jimmy Clark that this happened. His father insisted that the Commanding Officer release him from the army because of his age. However, the Commanding Officer was powerless to do anything as Harold denied knowing his father.
Harold saw action during the First World War at Aubers, Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of the Somme (first, third and sixth phases), The third battle of Ypres and Aisne. He was also gassed on at least one occasion. Little did he know that at the battle of Aubers Ridge that he would be fighting along side his future brother-in-law (see Frank Hartley KRRC remembrance page).
His Regiment was part of the 24th Brigade, 8th Division.
Harold Westwick survived the First World War and was despatched back to England where he left the army and settled back into civilian life, where he met and married Rose Hartley. He moved into 7 Avery Road in Smethwick with Rose his wife, his mother-in-law Rose Hartley and all of his wife's brothers and her sister Ruth.
Harold worked at Russells for a few years, and after that he worked at Henry Wiggins in Ladywood Road, but had to retire in 1964/5 due to heart trouble, he died in 1969.