Harold Brewster was born in Horbling, Lincolnshire, in 1891. His parents were William and Harriet Brewster. William Brewster was born in 1848 in Wharton, Lincolnshire. Harriet was born in 1849 at Langrick, Lincolnshire. In 1891, the family was living in Horbling where William Brewster was a farmer. There were 7 children: Annie Brewster (aged 15), Harriett (13), William G. (11), Charles D. (8), Lily (4) and Harold (just 4 months).
In 1901, the Brewster family, living at a farmhouse on Folkingham Road in Pickworth, was comprised of his parents and four children: William G. (21), Charles D. (18), Lily (14) and Harold (10, a schoolboy). Then In 1911 Harold, aged 20, was at work as a waggoner at Devon Farm, Bottesford, employed by William Henry Goodson.
Harold Brewster’s ‘attestation papers’ for 1915 show that he was by then living on the High Street in Bottesford. These were completed at Newark on 15 February 1915. He appears to have joined up with Cyril Barrand from Bottesford. Cyril (Service Number 17092) would not survive the war. He and Harold had consecutive service numbers. Harold served with the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment Service: Number 17091
His military career spanned the following dates:
Home 13.2.15 to 20.12.15
France 21.12.15 to 18.9.16
Home 19.9.16 to 21.9.17
He held the rank of Private, followed by Lance Corporal and was then promoted to Corporal, but he was recorded officially as ‘No longer fit for War Service’ on 21.9.17. His discharge papers record that he was “not to be compulsorily posted for service”. They give his home address as Pickworth, Lincolnshire. His discharge papers also noted that his character was “very good” and his disability was a GS to his right elbow (Gun Shot Wound).
Harold Brewster was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Post war life
Michael Honeybone in the Book of Bottesford notes that ‘he was badly wounded during the war and was discharged in 1917′ and in civilian life worked as a postman.
He and Jane Sutton married in December 1917 at Grantham.
The couple had 4 children – William Brewster, Dorothy and John Charles Brewster and Philip Brewster. Tragically the family, having suffered no loss in the 1st World War, would lose Philip in the 2nd World War. He was killed serving with the Royal Navy and was nominally attached to the shore based establishment H.M.S. President III. He was actually serving as a gunner on the Merchant Navy vessel SS Oporto when he was lost at sea. That ship was part of Convoy OS 44 heading from Liverpool to Seville. His ship was torpedoed on the 13th March 1943, 190 nautical miles west of Cape Finistere. There were only four survivors from the crew of 47. Able Seaman Philip Brewster is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 74, Column 1. Dorothy Beedham (nee Brewster) would become the keeper of an extensive family collection of village memorabilia including a large number of clippings from the Grantham Journal. Her twin brother Charlie worked for many years at Goodson’s the butchers on Market Street.
Jane Brewster died 16 June 1964 aged 76 and Harold Brewster died 21 December 1976 aged 86.