Harold Robert Everest was born in 1885 in Winchester. His father, William, was a printer and compositor. In 1872, aged only 22, he married Eleanor Budden (who was a few years older) near Poole in Dorset where Eleanor came from.
In the 1881 census William and his wife Eleanor are living at 34 Hyde Close with their children William (8), Elison (6), Arthur (2) and Eleanor (6 months). Eleanor’s sister Elison is visiting.
10 years on in 1891 the family is still living at 34 Hyde Close. William is described as a ‘printer’s reader’. His son William is apprenticed as a printer, and three others are pupil teachers. Since the last census there are three further siblings: Reginald (7), Harold (5) and Margaret (2). Clara (14) is also listed but was not included in the 1881 census.
In the 1901 census the family is still at 34 Hyde Close. There are only 4 children left living at home: Eleanor (20) a piano teacher, Reginald (17) an estate agent’s clerk, Harold (15) and Margaret (12).
William died just before the 1911 census, aged 61. The census shows Eleanor, now a widow, still living at 34 Hyde Close with three daughters, two of whom are teachers. Eleanor states that she has had 9 children, one of whom has died..
Where is Harold? He is in Odiham, boarding with a watchmaker. He is 25 years old and working as an Assistant Teacher.
The Head Teacher’s log at Hyde School states that Harold was engaged as a teacher on 1st May 1914.
The following year, at the age of 30, Harold joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps as a Rifleman, enlisting on 22nd September 1915 in London and giving his profession as ‘schoolmaster’. He was given the regimental number C/7129. Harold’s service record gives a lot more information:
A few days before he enlisted Harold was medically examined: weight 117 lbs, height 5 ft 7 ½ in. “Physical development good. Slight defects but not sufficient to cause rejection: operation scar front of neck; several teeth missing … denture”.
Harold’s Battalion (18th) moved to Witley (near Guildford) in October 1915 and came under the orders of the 122nd Brigade in 41st Division. It moved to Aldershot the following month, then to Witley in February 1916 and then back to Aldershot. The Kings Royal Rifle Corps embarked for France on 2nd May 1916, landing at Le Havre the following day. Harold was wounded in action in the Somme on 15th September 1916 and died of his wounds on 24th September, aged 31. He is commemorated at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Harold’s death was not announced in the Parish Magazine until May 1917.
His service record lists all the relatives still living of “the deceased soldier”:
Mother Eleanor at 34 Hyde Close; brother William in Southampton; brother Arthur now in Canada; one sister also in Canada; another sister married in Surrey; and two sisters at home with their mother.
There is a list of effects handed over to Eleanor: “1 disc, 1 pouch, 1 … case, 1 purse, 1 w watch (broken), 1 linen bag”.
Harold’s older sister Eleanor signed receipt of his British War Medal on 15th February 1921 “on behalf of Mrs Eleanor Everest.”
3 months after Harold had joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps his older brother Reginald joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He was killed in action at the Somme 10 days after Harold died. See a separate account of Reginald’s life.
Their mother Eleanor died in 1936, aged 89.