Harold Richards was born in Eston, North Yorkshire in 1878, the third child of William and Mary Ann Richards. He attended Bede College from 1897, and Bede College’s 1899 Annual Report lists Harold as completing his studies that year and taking up a post at Westbury Board School, Thornaby, near Stockton-on-Tees.
Richards enlisted at Northallerton into the 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards), and he is recorded in the December 1916 issue of The Bede magazine in the Roll of Honour as serving in France.
His regiment was part of the 150th (Yorks and Durham) Brigade which was involved in the fighting which became known as the Battle of Arras in early 1917. In response to a German push and successful capture of some trenches around the Scarpe River the British launched the Second Battle of the Scarpeon 23 April. Following a heavy bombardment of the enemy the 150th Brigade advanced and managed to retake all the lost ground. It was during this battle that Richards was killed, at the age of 39. He was reported as killed in action in The Bede magazine in December 1917, and a short obituary was published, (naming him in error as Herbert Richards): “Herbert Richards was acting as stretcher bearer. His officer writes that he with another man made journeys into a very heavy barrage and then stayed in No Man’s Land bandaging wounded men. He adds that if Richards had survived he would have undoubtedly been decorated.”
Harold Richards is buried at Wancourt British Cemetery in France. His name is also remembered on the war memorial Plaque at Normanby, and also on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour. (The Plaque and Roll of Honour again mis-identify him as Herbert Richards.)