Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1920 & 29

Pte Harold Washington (1904 - 1920)

Harold Washington joined the Duke of Wellington Regiment and was killed in action at the infamous "Kevin Barry IRA ambush" in Dublin in 1920, aged just 16.

He was born on 4th October 1904 at 189 Regent Road, Salford. His father was George Washington (born 1871 in Salford) who was a Leather Clicker in the Shoe Trade. His mother was Harriet (nee Whatmough) Washington (born 1871 in Salford), who was a Confectioner. They were married on 30th July 1892 at Christ Church, Salford. The marriage record shows that they were both aged 21 and both living at 66 Liverpool Street, Salford. George's father was another George Washington, Packer, and Harriet's father was Thomas Whatmough, Maker Up.

Harold had six siblings, all born in the Regent Road area of Salford: George (born 21st July 1893 and died 11th October 1900 aged 7), Arthur (born 13th April 1897, prisoner of war in 1918, married 1922 to Elizabeth Spencer, died 1959 aged 61), William (born 14th March 1899 and Killed in Action in France on 17th October 1918), Edith (born 1902 and married in 1924 to Ernest Poyser), Lilian (born 1907 and married 1938 to Arnold Carden), and Robert (born 12th September 1910, married 1931 to Edith Pyatt).

Harold Washington enlisted in the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment in 1920 and was posted to Dublin. He gave his age as 18 when in fact he was only 15. At this time the Irish Republican Army were fighting to liberate Ireland from Great Britain. The IRA had planned to ambush a lorry that regularly picked up bread supplies for the soldiers at Collinstown Barracks. The IRA's aim was to capture guns and ammunition from British soldiers who were guarding the lorry.

On 20th September 1920, armed members of the IRA had taken up positions both inside and outside Monks Bakery in North Kings Street, Dublin. The lorry arrived at the Bakery at about 11 am with a party of ten soldiers, some armed and some not armed. Private Harold Washington stayed in the lorry. Three of the unarmed soldiers went into the bakery for the bread, whilst armed soldiers guarded to lorry. The IRA members attacked and demanded that the soldiers throw down their weapons and ammunition. The soldiers refused and a gun battle took place.

Harold Washington was killed outright, two other soldiers were badly wounded and later died of their wounds. Two other soldiers were slightly wounded. One of the IRA members was killed and another wounded. Others managed to escape. However, 18-year-old Kevin Barry had approached the lorry, he had got off two rounds, but then his pistol had jammed, so he took cover behind the lorry. When his comrades ran off, Kevin Barry hid under the lorry, but was seen and arrested. His trial and execution made him an Irish Martyr and he was immortalised by the "Ballad of Kevin Barry,"

The Coroner's Inquest in Dublin on Harold and his two comrades found that "all three soldiers died from shock and haemorrhage caused by shots fired by persons unknown." Harold's body was returned to Salford, where he was buried with his brother George in Plot G number 1454 at Weaste Cemetery on 27th September 1920.