Lieutenant Harold Soames was one of the first soldiers to die in the First World War. The Battle of Mons began on 23 Aug 1914 and he was killed the same day. The 20th Hussars were in 1st Corps, in brigade reserve, able to off-saddle because the main German attack was against 2nd Corps. But news came of enemy movement on the right flank and B Squadron was ordered to Peissant on the Sambre. Once they arrived, a patrol was sent out under Lt Soames, but they came across a large number of Germans near Binche and had to make a fighting retreat. Soames was mortally wounded and another man wounded. Two men went missing. He was taken to a convent where he died. In the regimental History of the 20th Hussars in the Great War, C J Darling says, 'Lieutenant Soames had been one of the cheeriest fellows in the regiment, and his death was a great blow. In him we lost one who, I am certain, would have proved a first rate leader.'
Harold Martin Soames was born in 1887, the youngest son of William Aldwin Soames of Moor Park, Farnham, Surrey. He was married to Colleen Ruth and they had one daughter, Rachel who was only 17 day old when he died. She lived to the age of 99. Harold Soames was buried in Belgium, in Hautrage Military Cemetery. There is a memorial to him at All Saints Church, Tilford, Waverley, Surrey. A discussion concerning Lieutenant Soames can be seen on the Great War Forum at:
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