Private 16026 Harold Stone

Stone Harold 96 432x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 21st April 1918, age 25.
Buried in Grave XVI. B. 3. at Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

Labour Corps, 27th Company.
Formerly 29639 2nd Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Lichfield, Resident: Bradley, Bilston.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/266389/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Frederick Harold Stone registered September quarter 1890 in Dudley.

1901 Census
6 Chaters Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
James Stone (28, Marine Stores Dealer, born Tipton), his wife Mary (28, born Bradley), and their 5 children: Harold (10, born Tipton), May (9, born Tipton), Thomas (6, born Tipton), Dora (5, born Tipton), and James (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
6&7 Simons Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Mary Stone (40, born Dudley), and 5 of her 7 children: Frederick Harold (19, Marine Stores Dealer, born Tipton), Florrie (16, born Oldbury), James (10, School, born Tipton), Joseph (8, School, born Tipton), and Mary (2, born Tipton).

Marriage of Frederick H. Stone and Josephine McQ Pugh registered June quarter 1914 in Dudley. The birth of a daughter, Phyllis, was registered September quarter 1915 in Dudley.

Personal Data

After Harold's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/5/3d (5 pounds, 5 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his widow, Josephine, in August 1918. His War Gratuity was £8/0/0d (8 pounds exactly), this was divided between his widow (£2/13/4d) and his daughter Phyllis (£5/6/8d) in December 1919 and January 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harold had enlisted in approximately July 1916.

Action resulting in his death

Harold Stone enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment, his Commonwealth War Graves record says that he served in the 2nd Battalion. At some stage he transferred to the Labour Corps, we cannot tell when this transfer took place.

The Labour Corps was generally made up of men who were below the ‘A1’ medical rating required for front-line service. As Harold was previously in the 2nd South Staffs, this suggests that he was no longer fit for front-line service, either due to injuries or sickness.

The Labour Corps was created to provide a force to carry out general labouring jobs, however they were often within range of German guns. Their tasks were wide-ranging, generally fetching, carrying, lifting and digging, but could cover any number of tasks.

Research for men in the Labour Corps is difficult as few records remain to show where they were and what they were doing. The Corps is also hidden from view as those killed while serving with the Labour Corps are often commemorated as their original regiment. This is true of Harold Stone whose gravestone bears the insignia and title of the South Staffordshire Regiment.

The German Spring Offensive began on 21st March 1918, the losses from this campaign intensified the existing manpower crisis. While the army was waiting for additional manpower – the 18 and 19 years olds who had been held back in Britain - the Labour Corps were on many occasions used as emergency infantry.

Although we know that Harold Stone was killed in action on 21st April 1918, no further information is known. He is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, about 10 miles south-west of Arras.

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