Harold Walter Lawrence



            Harold was born on 27th September 1918, during the final throes of the First World War. He was given an early Baptism because the doctor did not think he would survive. He was born weighing only 2lb – a bag of sugar. He was the eldest of three children born to Walter Charles Lawrence and Laura Hilda (née Taylor). His parents lived with his Grandmother, Isabella Taylor at 238 Bath Road, Worcester. Later they moved to 14 Diglis Avenue, by the River Severn. He spent many days with his Grandmother and Auntie Lil at Bath Road. Harold attended St Peter’s Elementary School, which was situated in Severn Street, Sidbury. Most of it was demolished years ago, though one building remains as part of the former Worcester Porcelain. He later went to the Junior Technical School housed in the Victoria Institute, Sansome Walk. He was later to return to the VI, but this time as a lecturer.


            He began his working life with H Baggott & Co Ltd, a small engineering company in Diglis Road. He later moved to the more prestigious Heenan & Froude’s in Shrub Hill Road and served his apprenticeship as a miller. But another war was imminent. In May 1939 he joined the Royal Air Force. On his 21st birthday in 1939 he was on guard duty at his air base. During the war he served at a number of locations including Little Rissington (in the Cotswolds), Benbecula (in the Outer Hebrides), Lincolnshire and the Azores. While at Little Rissington he met Ethel Peters, known to her friends as Maisie. She was a London girl, evacuated to her relations in nearby Cheltenham. In November 1942 they married at St Mary’s, Woolwich, southeast London, her hometown. Harold’s war service finished in November 1945, just before the birth of his eldest child, Peter.


            For a while Harold and Maisie lived with her parents in Woolwich, with their new baby Peter. Later they moved back to Worcester, lodging with his parents or Grandmother. Valerie and Andrew were born in 1947 and 1949. Later in 1949 they secured their first house of their own, in the newly built council estate at Humber Road. Stephen was born in 1953 and the family was complete.


            In 1950 Harold was working for the Ministry of Aviation at the Royal Radar Establishment in St Andrews Road Malvern. In order to be nearer his work the family moved from Worcester to North View Road Malvern Link in 1957. Then in 1962 they moved again to Moat Way. From Moat Way they moved for the final time to Upper Chase Road. He lived there for just under 45 years. Harold changed his job in 1964 to become a lecturer at Worcester Technical College. He retired from College in 1979, just before his 61st birthday and often remarked that retirement was the longest job he ever had – 28 years.


            Sadly, Maisie died in March 1988 after a long illness. Harold found solace with his childhood friend and cousin Eileen Taylor. They married in September 1989. But their happiness was not to last as Eileen died in 1994 from a fatal heart attack. So for 14 years Harold busied himself visiting his cousin May in Welwyn Garden City, or going on holidays and day trips with his sister Hilda and the Retired Teachers Association. At the age of 80 he came out of retirement to give lessons on photography to the U3A.


            In his youth Harold was a keen cyclist. He belonged to Gheluvelt Wheelers cycling club, with his pals Bill Cole and Wally Richardson. He was also keen on photography and built up an impressive array of equipment over the years, some of it hand built. In quiet moments he would listen to classical music or do crosswords. Ever the handyman he rewired and re-plumbed the entire house, himself.


            He was very much a self-taught man: learning how things worked and studying hard to gain qualifications. He had a phenomenal memory; able to recite Shakespeare and poetry he had learnt at school. He was determined and a perfectionist. He built a doll’s house for his daughter, Valerie. It contained miniature furniture in every room, curtains and nets, and carpets. It even had working lights. She still has it, some 50-odd years later.


            He worked hard for his family, but money was tight for a family of six. Holidays were few: Weymouth in 1954, Littlehampton in 1956 and Great Yarmouth during that hot summer of 1959.


            Time took its toll and failing health slowed him down. He had to give up driving and became reliant on others running him around. Something he reluctantly accepted. But ever proud and independent – some say stubborn – he battled on to the end.


            It is an indication of the type of man he was that in 1981 he arranged with the University of Birmingham to have his body donated to medical science.




Vital Statistics



27th September 1918

238 Bath Road, Worcester


Married 1:

6th November 1942

St Mary’s, Woolwich, London

Ethel May Peters

Married 2:

9th September 1989

Registry Office,

Malvern, Worcestershire

Eileen Margaret Martin (née Taylor)


7th May 2008

Worcestershire Royal Hospital





1922 – Jly 1932

St Peter’s Elementary School,

Severn Street, Worcester


Sep 1932 – Jly 1934

Junior Technical School,

Victoria Institute, Sansome Walk, Worcester

ONC S1 Maths & Eng Science

1944 – 1945

Wolsey Hall, Oxford (Correspondence Course)

Matriculation in English & Maths

1957 – 1958

Malvern Technical College

ONC S2 Mechanical Engineering

1958 – 1963

Worcester Technical College

ONC S3 Workshop Technology

HNC A1 Mechanical Engineering

HNC A2 Engineering Production




Aug 1934 – Sep 1935

H Baggott & Co Ltd,

Diglis Road, Worcester

Apprentice Toolmaker

Sep 1935 – May 1939

Heenan & Froude Ltd,

Shrub Hill Road, Worcester

Apprentice Miller

May 1939 – Nov 1945

Royal Air Force

Armourer II, 1941 Corporal, 1944 Sergeant

Dec 1945 – Jne 1946

J Stone & Co Ltd,

Charlton, London, SE7

Toolroom Miller

Jne 1946 – Jne 1949

Metal Castings Ltd, Worcester

Toolroom Miller

Jne 1949 – Feb 1950

Betterware Products, Romford, Essex

Sales Representative

Mch 1950 – Aug 1964

Ministry of Aviation, RRE, Malvern

Craftsman, R&D Experiments Workshop

Sep 1964 – Jly 1979

Worcester Technical College



RAF Service Record








23 May 1939

Linton-on-Ouse, Lincolnshire

S Depot


23 May 1939


4 Aug 1939

Little Rissington, Oxfordshire



27 Nov 1939


8 Sep 1939

Manby, Lincolnshire



1 Apr 1940


1 Dec 1939




13 Jan 1941


4 Mar 1940

Warmwell, Dorset (A)



1 Feb 1944


20 Mar 1940







Warmwell, Dorset (A)





24 Apr 1940






10 May 1940

Warmwell, Dorset (A)





17 May 1940


6 FTS (renamed 6 PAFU)





Kirkham, Lancashire





6 Jan 1943


6 (P)AFU




18 Jun 1943

Chedworth, Gloucestershire

6 (P)AFU




9 Jul 1943


220 Squadron




1 Oct 1943


247 Group



Air Armament School

8 Oct 1943

Disembarked Angra, Terceira




Aircraftman grade 1 or 2

21 Feb 1945

33 Base, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire




Flying Training School

18 Aug 1945

Mepal, Cambridgeshire




Leading Aircraftman

15 Dec 1945

100 POC A Release




Pilot Advanced Flying Unit

30 Jun 1959

Discharged from Class G Reserve








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