Contributed by: Vanessa L. Dixon, on 2008-11-07
|Year of Birth||1896|
|Year of Death||1961|
|Regiment||King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire|
with blackened faces they entered the enemy's front line
Harold Hadfield was my grandfather, he enlisted 25th March 1915 at the age of 18 years and 90 days. On the 11th August 1915 he arrived in France and was posted with the 7th Batt. Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. His service papers record that he was wounded on 12th April 1916, gunshot wound to left cheek and loss of right eye. The Regimental Diary of the 12th April records that the Regiment was in the Neuve Chapelle sector trenches. At 2.15am 2 Lieutenants and 24 men embarked on a trench raid, with blackened faces they entered the enemy's front line though a gap in the wire, most of them had evacuated the area but after sharp fighting 10 Germans were killed. The Raiders returned at 4.15am with the loss of 1 man, 5 wounded and 1 missing. Family legend says that Harold lay wounded for 2 days before being found, so it's likely he is the one listed as missing. He was taken to the treatment station at Ypres before being evacuated back to England where he received further treatment at the Red Cross Hospital at Ampton, Suffolk. Besides the obvious physical injuries he was also left with shell shock and a bad stutter, he also suffered with chronic trench foot. I suppose in a way he was lucky to have been wounded when he was, because in July he would have been fighting in the Battle of the Somme, something he would have been unlikely to survive.