Date of Birth: 1887
Place of Birth: Southampton
Date of Marriage: 1877
Place of Marriage: Hampshire
Service : Royal Garrison Artillery
Division: 138th Battery
Death Location: France
Life Before The War
Harold was born in Southampton on 13th October 1887 and was the youngest son of Alexander and Emma Paris.
Alexander Paris was born in Sopley, Hampshire in 1852 and baptised on 21st September 1852. Emma Paris (nee Kemp-Welch), was born in Christchurch, Dorset in 1847. They were married in 1877 in Christchurch, Dorset.
Harold had 1 sister, Marion Emma b.1878, and 4 brothers Alexander Lloyd b.1880, Charles Kemp b.1881, Robert b.1883 and Leonard Farmer b.1885.
In the census of 1881 his parents were living at 2 The Avenue, Westwood Park, Twynham House, Southampton with their children Marion, Alexander and Charles who was aged 3 months. Two servants were employed – a cook and a nurse. Harold’s father was working as a Solicitor.
The census of 1891 shows Harold is living at 126 Troynham, Winn Road, Portswood, Southampton with his parents and siblings. His father was working as a Solicitor and public notary. Also at the address were 3 servants registered as cooks/domestics.
By the 1901 census Harold was living with his mother, father and brother Leonard at 52 Becton House, Milton, Hampshire. Three staff are registered – a cook, parlourmaid and a housemaid. His father still works as a Solicitor and public notary.
In 1911 the census shows his parents still living at Becton House, Milton, Hampshire and his father is working as a Solicitor. Harold’s brother Leonard was also employed as a Solicitor. Three staff were employed as a cook, parlourmaid and housemaid.
Kelly’s Directories record two entries :- Alex Paris of firm Paris, Smith and Randall of Lansdowne House and also Leonard Farmer Paris of Paris, Smith and Randall of Lansdowne House, Castle Lane, Southampton.
Harold’s father died on 24th January 1925, his addresses at that time were given as Lansdowne House, Castle Lane and 2 Brookvale Road – both in Southampton. Probate was granted on 5th March 1925 to Leonard Farmer Paris (Solicitor) and Frederick George William Gordon (a Solicitor’s clerk). The effects were noted at £30,800. 15s and resworn at £ 34,154.00s.
Harold was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and in July 1905 entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
He married Helen Margery Paine of Hillmorton, Parkstone, Dorset in 1915 in Havant, Hampshire.
Harold was commissioned in July 1907 and promoted to Lieutenant in July 1910.
In 1911 Harold was serving as a Lieutenant in 88 Company, Royal Garrison Artillery and stationed at Victoria Barracks, Hong Kong, returning in 1913. On 19th August 1914 he landed in France with the 35th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery and took part in the retreat from Mons and the first Battle of Ypres. He was promoted to Captain and posted to take command of the newly formed 138th Heavy Brigade in July 1915.
Before returning to the Western Front with the Brigade, Harold married Helen Margery Paine in Havant, Hampshire.
On 20th February 1917, after being promoted to Major, Harold became Commanding Officer of the 138th Heavy Brigade. He was awarded the Military Cross on 16th August 1917 and a year later was awarded a Bar with the citation stating “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in keeping his men in action under very hostile shell fire …he has on many previous occasions displayed great courage and fine leadership”.
Harold died on 6th October 1918 and is buried at the Hargicourt British Cemetery in France.
His final battle and burial are described in a letter sent by Gunner Edgecombe:
“… a great 9.2 Railway gun a few yards off fired, as it seemed, a parting salute. A trumpeter sounded the last post and we looked our last upon him we admired him and he was loved by all men. We shall never forget him”.
Harold was awarded the Military Cross and Bar and the following articles were recorded.
The Times 18th October 1918.
Harold’s award of the Military Cross recorded by The Gazette of 16th August 1917
“Capt. (A./Maj.) Harold Graham Paris, R.G.A.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in keeping his men in action under very heavy hostile shell fire, during which he worked at a gun himself, setting a splendid example to his men. A few days later he most skilfully withdrew his guns under a heavy bombardment, and he has on many previous occasions displayed great courage and fine leadership.”
The Gazette of 13th September 1918 on the award to Harold of The Bar to the Military Cross
“Capt. (A./Maj.) Harold Graham Paris, M.C., R.G.A.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer superintended the withdrawal of his guns under heavy fire, and largely owing to his efforts only one gun had to be abandoned. Earlier the same day he remained in the observation post, sending back information when his telephonists were severely wounded. Throughout the fighting he commanded his battery with skill and cheerfulness, keeping his men in good spirits.”
Major Harold Paris is remembered on the roll of honour of King’s School, Canterbury, which can be viewed on line.
An excellent website named the Hampstead Heavies gives in depth information on the service of Major Paris from 1914 and an insight into his diaries together with photographs of him. It gives the history of the 138th Heavy Brigade. http://hampstead-heavies.com/paris.htm)
Major Harold Paris is also remembered on the Western Front Association website, The New Milton War Memorial, The Warblington War Memorial at St. Thomas A’Beckett’s Church, The Highfield War Memorial and Southampton Cenotaph.
We would like to thank Mr Brian Bristow the grandson of Major Harold Paris for showing an interest in his story and contacting us. Permission from Brian Bristow and the Families and Friends website should be sought before copying the photograph or any piece of information.
Brian Bristow informs us that the Family Solicitors still exists in Southampton which is a wonderful continuation of Major Harold Paris’s story
Researched by Celia Fraser 2012.
Updated by Brenda White July 2014.