2nd Lieutenant Harold Leslie Rayner

9th(Service)Battalion

Devonshire Regiment

1st July 1916

Born on 19/01/1890 in Hampstead London. His parents were Edward Rayner(1848-05/09/1911 and

Louisa Petch (06/11/1855-06/09/1919). They were married in 1877.

Harold had a brother,Edward(10/09/1886-06/07/1917).

In the 1891 Census,the family were recorded as living at 7 South Hill Park,St Johns,Hampstead,London. His father was employed as a charging clerk.

In the 1901 census,the family. were recorded as having moved to 1 Tanza Road, Hampstead, London and

Edward Snr. was now a director of Maples company.

Harold was educated at Tonbridge public school,where he was appointed a House Praeposter in 09/1907 and a school praeposter in 1908.

Also in 1908 he was awarded the first Judd Leaving Exhibition of £75 for classics and in the Autumn won an open Classical Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. There he took a first class in Classical Moderations and a second in the final School of Literae Humaniores.He was also the President of the college boat club and a Sarjeant in the Officer Training Corps(OTC).

He spent a year at Oxford reading geography and took the University Certificate with honours.

Whilst an undergraduate on 28/10/1912 he was initiated into the Apollo University Lodge of the Freemasons.

When war broke out in 08/1914,Harold was travelling around the world,but returned as soon as possible.

He applied for a commision and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion,The Devonshire Regiment on

22/12/1914. 

He served in France from 07/1915 and was killed in action on 01/07/1916 leading his men up the Danube Trench. *Private Owen was a witness,"killed by machine gun fire in a German sap in their front line trench".

In his will, read on 27/09/1916 he had effects of £13228 14s 9d (worth today  £1,336,928.91).

His brother Edward,a surgeon in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Vanguard was killed when the ship was blown up by an internal explosion of faulty cordite on 09/07/1917, whilst anchored in Scapa Flow.  

 

*Before Action by Charlotte Zeepvat page 197.       

 

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