Henry (Harry) William Ternent Reed was a local man, born 5 June 1884 in Margery Lane, Crossgate in Durham, the fifth of six children of Lancelot George and Ellen Reed (née Ternent). His was a family of educationalists: his father was the headmaster of St Margaret’s Boys School, and both his grandfather, uncle and three siblings were all in the school teaching profession. Henry survived a serious attack of scarlet fever before entering the Chorister School in 1893. He went on to Durham School as a day boy in 1898, excelling in Mathematics and Classics, and being elected to a King’s Scholarship in 1900. He also played in the rugby XV 1900-1901. Staying in Durham, and indeed probably still staying at home, he attended the university from 1902 as a non-collegiate student and thereby a member of St Cuthbert’s Society. He was academically accomplished, passing first class in Classical Honours in 1903 and also in his BA finals in the Summer of 1905. He had also attained the Lindsay, Newby and Open Scholarships along the way, perhaps, along with his non-collegiate status, indicating an unprosperous home background. His abilities were not purely academic, as he was also active in debating at St Cuthbert’s Society and even became president of the Union Society and thereby organiser of June Week. He also was first secretary and then captain of the Durham Colleges rugby XV, though he had now moved into the scrum from his three-quarter days at school. His all-round prowess merited a feature in the student magazine of the day, The Sphynx, as a ‘Man of Mark’ in the 11 May 1905 edition. Through the correspondence columns of the more august Durham University Journal, he advocated the formation of a Durham Society, to allow alumni to keep in touch.
Seeking to progress his academic career further, he then moved on to Cambridge in 1905, matriculating at Trinity College with an exhibition as a sizar; that is, one who had to pay his way somewhat by carrying out menial tasks. He continued to excel academically, winning the college’s Classics Prize and gaining a BA with 2nd class in the Classical Tripos in 1908. He had rowed at school, but not at Durham, proclaiming himself "no use" at it in 1905. He now flourished at it, rowing in the 1st Trinity 1st May boat at Cambridge and Henley in 1908, being then also a member of the Leander club. He was also active during this period in the Magpie and Stump (the college’s debating society) and the Shakespeare Society. Leaving Cambridge, he taught as an assistant master in Classics, first at King’s School Worcester, and then in 1909 at Cheltenham College; he coached rowing at both places and founded a Scout Troop at the King’s School. Having been a Cadet Corporal of Cheltenham College Contingent OTC, he was gazetted a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment on 4 January 1915. It is not known when he joined the battalion but he was killed at the Second Battle of Ypres at St Julien on 2 May 1915. 2nd Monmouthshires was a Territorial battalion although it was serving with the regulars of 12th Brigade which was part of the 4th Division. The British Army in the Ypres salient was under intense pressure from the Germans and a withdrawal to a shorter line was planned for the night of 2/3 May. 2 May 1915 began with a heavy German bombardment of the British trenches around La Brique. The Monmouthshires were in the reserve line but B and C companies were soon ordered up to support nd Essex and 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers in the front line. The order never reached B Company but C Company moved up under heavy shrapnel fire and occupied the support trench behind the Essex Regiment. Later in the day two platoons of B Company managed to reinforce the Royal Irish Regiment. At some point during the day Harry Reed was killed, probably by shell fire, and is buried in La Brique Military Cemetery no. 2. Obituaries were published in the Durham County Advertiser on 15 May 1915 and the Durham University Journal in March 1916. He is commemorated on the war memorials in Durham School Chapel (and in its War Record of Old Dunelmians), Trinity College Cambridge Chapel, Worcester King’s School Hall and the school’s window in Worcester Cathedral Cloisters, Cheltenham Promenade, and St Luke’s Church in Cheltenham.
A fuller biography by Simon Stanley will be published by St Cuthbert's Society in due course.