William Harwood


William Harwood


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Bedfordshire Regiment
1st Bn. & 8th Bn.


British War and Victory medals


Panel 31 and 33



UK Memorials

Not on the Ayot St Peter memorials

Pre War

William Harwood was born in 1873 in Welwyn, the son of Joseph and Mary Ann Harwood.

The family lived in Fore Street, Welwyn in 1881, where his father was an agricultural labourer. 

He enlisted in February 1891 and on the 1891 Census he is listed as a Private with the Bedfordshire Regiment in barracks at Kempston. He served 7 years, saw active service in India and was awarded the Indian Medal. He was declared medically unit and discharged with the rank of Corporal and was in receipt of a pension.

He married Elizabeth Jane Jeeves on 20 August  1899 at Ayot St Peter, Herts and on the 1901 Census they were living in Welwyn with their 1 year old daughter Rosa. (They later had a further five daughters). By 1911 they had moved to 50 Avondale Road, South Tottenham, Middx and William was working as a building labourer. They were living at 4 Playford Road, Holloway at the time of his enlistment.

Wartime Service

As he had been a serving soldier and had been declared medically unfit he was under no obligation to enlist but a newspaper report stated that despite still suffering the "effects of a trying climate", he did re-enlist in August 1914.

He quickly gained promotion to Serjeant and served with the Bedfordshire Regiment. He was killed in action in Forward Cottage trenches near Poperinghe and the war diary for the 8th Battalion states that the Germans  shelled them with phosgene gas followed by heavy shelling all day. 

His body was not recovered for burial or not identified and he is commemorated on the Ypres Memorial.

Additional Information

His widow Elizabeth received a pension of £1 8s a week from 2 October 1916 for herself and five children. She later lived at 11 Anchor Dwellings, Brewery Road, Holloway, London. Newspaper report stated he was from Ayot Green.


Brenda Palmer