Harold Charles Syrett

Rank Rifleman
Service No 2943
Date of Death 01/07/1916
Age 23
Service/Regiment London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles) 1st/9th Battalion
Memorial Thiepval Memorial. This memorial to the missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme  sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.


Harold was born on 9th August 1893 to Charles Stephen Syrett (1868-1951) and his wife Edith, nee Kaye (b.1870). He had one younger sister, Hilda (b.1898).

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were living with Edith’s mother, a widow, at 21 Paget Road, Stoke Newington, London. Charles was a hardware merchant and an employer.

At the time of the 1911 census, the family were living in their own residence at 9, The Hawthorns, Regents Park Road, Finchley, with Edith’s mother being a member of the householder. Charles and Edith had been married for 21 years. Charles was an employer and working as an ‘Australian merchant’. Harold was a pupil at Christ’s College, Finchley, and was subsequently employed as a clerk in his father’s office.

Harold volunteered for Foreign Service with the Queen Victoria’s Rifles on the 2nd September 1914, less than a month after the Britain entered the war. He served in France from 14th February 1915. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916 whilst attempting to return, unassisted, across No Man’s Land to the field hospital, having been severely wounded in the third German trench below Gommecourt.

Harold's father was a significant local figure. At the time of his son's death, Charles was chairman of Finchley Urban District Council and in June 1922 he was granted the Freedom of the City of London. In 1934/35 he served as Mayor of Finchley (the second person to hold the office as the role was only created in 1933) and during the Second World War he served as Vice-Chairman of Finchley's Civil Defence Committee.