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HEMEL HEMPSTEAD (BOXMOOR) - HARCOURT JOHN SNOWDEN

World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Article and Photographs Copyright © Charles Moubray 2022

LIEUT. HARCOURT JOHN SNOWDEN.
1st. Battalion,
THE HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT.

Lockers Park Staff - January 1910 – July 1914

It is unknown which name he used and thus he will be referred to here by his first name, Harcourt.

He was born on 12th December 1897, the younger son of the Rev. Harcourt Charles Vaux and of Augusta Louisa Snowden of originally of St Peter’s Church, Broadstairs, Kent. His elder brother, Arthur Owen, also a school teacher, played cricket for Kent and the MCC, playing six first class matches.

Hemel Cricket Club’s
Snowden Trophy.

His father became Headmaster of a local prep school, Hildersham House, Haywards Heath and it was here that he and his brother attended, both then going onto Rugby. Harcourt was in Brooke House and arrived there in 1901; he was in the school 1st XI and left in 1906 to go onto Trinity College, Oxford. He gained his degree in 1909 with Second Class Honours in History and also distinguished himself by playing hockey for the University a number of times.

He arrived at Lockers Park in January 1910 to teach History and while here, he became a keen player for the Hemel Hempstead Cricket Club and in the summer of 2014, the club dedicated a trophy to his memory, for competition amongst local Under 12 teams (left).

Harcourt also joined the Hertfordshire Regiment as a Territorial, gaining his commission on 2nd June 1913 and being promoted to Lieutenant on 26th September 1914, joining the Royston Company. He had thus left Lockers Park in July of that year and by in January 1915, the battalion had moved up to the Front, taking over trenches from the Irish Guards on the evening of the 10th. He was taking a tour of inspection of sentries the following morning and then crossed a road, the Rue de Bois in Richebourg St. Vaast and while doing so, was shot by a sniper through the chest, causing paralysis and he died later that day. He was 27 years old.

His company commander said of him:

"I had such confidence in him that when I was in his neighbourhood and knew that he was the officer on duty, I never went round the posts to see that all was well”

Another officer wrote:-

"He was a fine example to all of us, a good and straight-living Englishman."

He is buried in Rue des Berceaux Cemetery, Richebourg L’Avoue near Béthune. There is also a memorial to him in Lockers Park Chapel and on the war memorials at St Peter’s Church, Thanet, Kent, at the Boxmoor Memorial, Hemel Hempstead and at Berkhamsted Golf Club.

Harcourt’s medals came up for sale in September 2015 (Dix Noonan Webb) fetching an auction price of £750.

They include (L-R) the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which would have been issued to his family in 1919.

Trinity College Oxford 1906

Harcourt’s memorial in Lockers Park Chapel (left) and on the Hemel Hempstead War Memorial (right),
with the Smeathman brothers, both of whom had been pupils.

Left: an unknown cricket photo taken in around 1906.

Right: With Lockers Park staff in 1911.
L-R Top:
JWS Malden, HJS.
Bottom: NB Woodd -Smith, JB Wildman

Last updated 27 August, 2022

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