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Person Details
Mansfield Nottinghamshire
His name appears on the Nottingham OTC memorial as Harold CU but no other records have been found with the initials 'CU'. Harold was the eldest son of Hedley and Clara Ellen Blythe (née Rouse). His father Hedley was born in Skegby, Nottinghamshire, on 8 June 1872 (J/A/S Mansfield), the son of George and Sarah Blythe. Although the family was living in Skegby in 1881 they had moved to High Street, Mansfield, by 1891 when Hedley (18) was a joiner's apprentice. His mother Clara Ellen was born in Mansfield on 24 October 1872 (O/N/D Mansfield). Hedley and Clara were married at Mansfield St Edmund King & Martyr on 25 December 1894 (O/N/D Mansfield) and had two sons who were both born in Mansfield: Harold b. 1895 (O/N/D Mansfield) and Eric Alfred b. 29 June 1900 (J/A/S Mansfield) bap. Mansfield St Mark 24 July 1900. In 1901 Hedley (28), a carpenter, and Clara (28) were living at 7 Rooth Street, Mansfield with their sons Harold (5) and Eric (under one year). The family was living at 7 Leyton Avenue, Mansfield, by 1911. Hedley was now a builder and contractor (employer). Hedley and Clara moved to 107 Union Street, Mansfield, before the end of the war but the later CWGC record gives their address as 28 Edgar Avenue, Mansfield. Harold's brother Eric joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 17 on 4 April 1918; the family home was then at 107 Union Street. Eric's civilian occupation was clerk. He was discharged from the RAF on 18 November 1918. Eric was living in Mansfield in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. He was a builder contractor and married to Kathleen T. (b. 19 July 1901). He had two sons, Michael Harold (b. 27 September 1927) and Ian A. (b. 8 February 1935), Eric died aged 72 in 1972 (O/N/D Mansfield). Hedley and Clara were living at The Bungalow, Roebuck Drive, Mansfield, in 1939; Hedley had retired; he died in 1946 (A/M/J Mansfield). Clara died in 1967 (J/F/M Mansfield).
Attended Brunts School.
10 Feb 1917
615265 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
32nd Sqdn Royal Flying Corps
Previously 19th Bn Sherwood Foresters. Second Lieutenant Harold Blythe, a 32 Squadron DH2 pilot, was reported missing on 2 February 1917. It was later established that he was a prisoner of war, although wounded after being shot down on 2 February, possibly by Leutnant der Reserve Hans Gutermuth of Jasta 5. Harold died of his wounds in a German prisoner of war camp on 10th February 1917. He is buried in Croisilles British Cemetery, France (grave reference III.E.9). Leutnant der Reserve Hans Gutermuth was shot down and killed in combat with Sgt. Smith and Lt. Aldred, who were flying a 5 Squadron BE2c, on 16th February 1917 between Gommecourt and Hebuterne.
His mother, Clara Ellen Blythe, of 107 Union Street, Mansfield, was his legatee. Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser, 8 February 1917: '2nd Lieut Harold Blythe of Royal Flying Corps has been reported missing since 2 February 1917.' Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser 5 April 1917: 'Lieut Blythe missing since 2 February1917 has now been reported alive and a prisoner of war. Has had to have one of his feet amputated.' Mansfield Chronicle 24 May 1917: 'Lieut Blythe has died of his wounds in German Prisoner of War camp.' Nottingham Evening Post, 5th April 1917:- It took some time for his death to be confirmed. Initially reported missing, he was reported to be in Germans hands on 5th April 1917. “NOT MISSING, BUT PRISONER. “FATE OF MANSFIELD FLYING OFFICER. “Some weeks ago Mr. Hedley Blythe, of Mansfield, received official intimation that his son, Lieut. Harold Blythe, of the Royal Flying Corps, was missing, but this morning a postcard arrived from the lieutenant stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany, and has been wounded, also that one of his feet has been amputated. Since the first intimation Mr. Blythe has been the recipient of many messages of sympathy.” Article published 17th August 1917 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times :- “A service is to be held shortly to the memory of Lieut. Harold Blythe, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hedley Blythe, the first Mansfield airman to fall in France. The deceased officer showed considerable promise as a pilot but he was, unfortunately, brought down soon after he got the other side of the Channel, and was taken prisoner by the enemy. He was seriously wounded and died as a result of his injuries is the information conveyed to the bereaved parents.” Above reports are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 . Mansfield Reporter 31 Aug 1917: ‘Local and District News. For Those Who Have Fallen. A special service was held in the Leeming Street Primitive Methodist church on Sunday evening in memory of those associated with the church who had fallen in the war. The service was conducted by the Rev. Chas. F. Gill (superintendent minister). The names mentioned were: Harold Blythe, Wm Andrews, George Ed. Fletcher, William Fletcher, Fred H Tudge, Albert E Binch, Archie Draycott, Sam Bowler and Fank Weighell. Mr Gill delivered a suitable address, on the words, ‘He healeth the broken in heart.’ He urged his hearers to commit their loved ones, and also their own lives, to the keeping of the God of infinite tenderness, and so find consolation in the hour of trial. The service was very impressive.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
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