Harold Caines

Born: Outwood, Wakefield 1892
Died: 10 October 1918
Service number: 39606
Rank: Private
Regiment / Service: East Yorkshire Regiment

Family information: Son of Mr and Mrs Harry Caines of Newton Lane, Outwood, Wakefield and husband of Harriet Caines, Wrists Building, Outwood, Wakefield.

War Service

Harold Caines left his job at Wrenthorpe Colliery in early 1918. He enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment and was an infantry soldier in the 7th battalion. He did his basic training in Withernsea before being shipped to France to join the War.

In the autumn of 1918 it was obvious that the war could not last much longer, however, the last campaign of the war saw desperate fighting and heavy losses on both sides. The Canadians had fought their way into Cambria and the British 3rd Army was moving towards the River Selle in hot pursuit of the retreating German Army. Among the units involved was the East Yorkshire 7th Battalion. Just before midnight of October 9th the Battalion and the remains of the 50th Brigade received orders to move from their encampment near Caullery to an assembly point west of Montigny. The unit carried out an uneventful approach until it reached Inchy to find the village under heavy artillery bombardment. The East Yorkshires passed through the barrage suffering only a few casualties but were harassed by continual enemy shell fire. The 7th Battalion continued to advance until it reached its position S W of Neuvilly close to the Inchy-Neuvilly road and waited to begin the attack.

At 5am on the 10 October the Battalion launched an assault on the heavily defended ruined village of Neuvily. Faced with a solid wall of machine gun bullets from well concealed positions and intense artillery bombardment, the assault was a bloody and expensive failure costing the East Yorkshires dearly and somewhere in the fighting, Harold his life. The following day the Battalion along with the 50th Brigade, made up from the 7th Dorsets and 10th West Yorkshires, were again unsuccessful in trying to take possession of the village. The Battalion was relieved on 13 October and the surviving East Yorkshire lads march wearily back to their billets. The casualty list included two officers killed and four wounded. Other ranks: 22 killed, 124 wounded, 26 listed as missing and two wounded and missing.

He was killed in action during an attack on the village of Neuvilly, near Le Cateau France on 10 October 1918. He was buried at the Neuvilly Communal Cemetery and Extension, Nord, France.

Family Life

Harold Caines married Harriet Hartley in 1916, they had no children and lived in Outwood. He had two brothers and one sister. One of his brothers, Alfred, married Harriet’s sister ie 2 brothers married 2 sisers.

When Harold was killed in 1918 his wife took it very badly. She never married again and left her own home in Wrists Building, Outwood and lived with her parent at Cemetery House, Outwood. Her father was the grave digger / curator there. Many moving tributes were placed in the Wakefield Express of 2 November 1918 from all the family.

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