HAROLD MORRIS PORTER
This biography was written by Victoria Doran.
Harold was educated at Calday Grange Grammar School and had a promising future ahead of him. Twice rejected by the Royal Artillery on medical grounds, he finally managed to join the Liverpool Rifles only to be killed on the Somme
Harold Morris Porter was the eldest of the 3 sons of Thomas Henry Porter (1860-1931) and Lydia Morris (1870-1933) and was born on 29 Jun 1895 in Toxteth Park. He also had an older sister.
By 1911 his father was the principal of the firm of undertakers of Thomas Porter & Sons of Toxteth Park, the firm having 3 premises in Liverpool and the family was firmly middle class.
Kelly’s 1911 Directory of Liverpool
Harold’s great grandfather Thomas Porter (1878-???) was a joiner from Yorkshire who had moved to Liverpool by 1835 when his son, another Thomas Porter (1835-???) was born in Parliament Street. He does not seem to have been particularly successful. Thomas Porter junior also worked as a joiner, but by 1881 he had started an undertaker’s business at 3 Upper Hill Street, Toxteth Park. Undertaking was a natural move from his trade as a joiner, as undertakers made their own coffins. Indeed well into the 1970s many undertakers in smaller towns still had joinery businesses as well.
In July 1858 Thomas Porter junior married Maria Adelaide Hargraves (1834-1915). Maria came from Douglas, Isle of Man but little is known about her background. By 1871 her mother was working in Liverpool as a sick nurse, so they were not well off. Maria worked as a milliner before her marriage.
For unknown reasons Thomas & Maria went to live in Bolton shortly after their marriage, which is where Thomas Henry Porter was born in the summer of 1860. By 1871 the family had moved back to Liverpool.
Thomas Henry Porter started his working life as a butcher, but by the time of his marriage to Lydia Morris on 29 June 1890 he had joined his father’s undertaking business.
Lydia was the daughter of Thomas Morris (1839-1888), a book keeper born in Ruabon, Denbighshire, Wales and Christiana Brereton (1838-1887). Christiana was born in Liverpool to Robert Brereton (1791-1871), a Cheshire born shipwright and his Welsh wife Mary Thomas. She was their 3rd and last daughter and their youngest child to survive childhood.
All of Harold’s siblings were born in Toxteth Park, but by 1901 the family had moved to 2a Dunraven Road, West Kirby where they remained.
Harold attended Calday Grange Grammar School where he was remembered as a quiet boy. On leaving school Harold joined the firm of Strauss & Co., cotton brokers. The firm soon became Ravenscroft & Co. and had offices at 15 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool.
from Kelly’s 1911 Directory of Liverpool
Harold took an active part in the work of the Wesleyan Church, West Kirby where he was a sidesman. He is remembered in the stained glass window commemorating the members of the congregation who died in the First World War.
The window in West Kirby Methodist church
Harold was also Treasurer of the Band of Hope and deputy Treasurer of the Missionary Society. He was very young for the responsibility of these posts being only aged 20 when he joined the army. A young man with a strong sense of duty.
On the outbreak of war, he applied to join the Royal Artillery but failed the medical examination. He failed it a second time a little later.
Persisting in his desire to serve his country, in 1915 he managed to pass the medical for the Liverpool Rifles, the 1/6th Battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment and joined as Rifleman 4255.
Kings Liverpool cap badge
As his service record has not survived we know little of his time in the army, but it was reported that he arrived in France on 29 April 1916.
Harold was killed in action on 9 August 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He was just 21 years old. He is one of 740 men buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery.
Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont
He is also commemorated at Grange Hill War Memorial, St Bridget & St Andrew churches, West Kirby and Calday Grange Grammar School.
It is not known if his brother Reginald (1896-1969), an insurance official, served during the war. His youngest brother Maurice (1899-1976) joined the Royal Engineers in February 1917 and became an efficient wireless operator. He never served overseas, so received no medals. Maurice went into the undertaking business.
Birth: 29 Jun 1895 in Toxteth Park, Liverpool
Death: 9 Aug 1916 killed in action in the Battle of the Somme; aged 21
Addresses: 1 Upper Hill Street, Toxteth, Liverpool (01), 2a Dunraven Road, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: clerk – cotton broker
Unit: 1st/6th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment (Liverpool Rifles)
Number and Rank: Rifleman 4255
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, Somme, France; GH, WK, CH, West Kirby Methodist Church
Sources: CWGC, MC, BR, PR, CGB, LE, Census: 01, 11, Kellys Directory of Liverpool 1911