King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Bache, Harold Godfrey

Second Lieutenant ▪ Lancashire Fusiliers

Harold Godfrey Bache, born on 20th August 1889, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1898. Harold’s father, William Henry, founded a well-known firm of solicitors in West Bromwich. William and his wife, Frances, had nine children: eight sons and one daughter, of whom Harold was the youngest. While at School, Harold lived with his by-then widowed mother in Churchill House, West Bromwich, along with three of his brothers and his sister.

As a schoolboy, Harold excelled on the sports field, described in the school magazine as “a boy of great character and a notable athlete.” He played cricket, rugby and fives at School, and was an “exemplary dribbler” of the rugby ball. Writing in the Old Edwardian’s Gazette in September 1976, Dr GF Alabaster (OE, 1906) commented “His character was the best possible; his writing, of which I have still a single specimen, the worst.” He also added that “Bache was a very principled boy who always saw to it that there was no cutting of prayers for anyone.”

Harold left School in 1904 gaining a place at Caius College, Cambridge, where he sat examinations in the Historical Tripos and Mechanics. Harold was captain of the College football and cricket teams and a keen tennis player. He was also a football Blue.

His talent led him to play for both Worcestershire in cricket and West Bromwich Albion in football. He also won seven amateur international caps for England between 1910 and 1913, on one occasion scoring seven goals against France in a 20-0 victory in March 1910.

Harold volunteered for active service in October 1914, enlisting in the 10th South Staffordshire Regiment as a Corporal, quickly qualifying as a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He trained as a bombing officer (officers specifically trained to throw the recently-invented Mills bomb), for which his skills as a left-handed bowler might have come in useful.

On 16th February 1916, Harold was killed by a German sniper while running to assist soldiers wounded in a shell blast near Sanctuary Wood. His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate. All but one of Harold’s seven brothers served during the war, Francis Eric Laurence Bache winning a Military Cross.

In 1919, John Edward Kenneth Bache (OE, 1904) set up the Bache Memorial Fund in memory of his younger brother. The fund paid for a permanent memorial at King Edward’s School together with a silver cup which, to this day, is awarded each year to the best sportsman in the School.