Harold Methven Musson, a former pupil of Oakham School, was awarded the Military Cross for bravery during the First World War. He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, the son of Christopher Joseph and Kate Musson (nee Methven). He was sent to England to be educated and was at Oakham between 1899 and 1902. He became a rancher in Argentina before war broke out. He returned to England to enlist and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery, serving with D Battery 149th Brigade. According to the Supplement to the London Gazette of 17 July 1917, Harold won his MC: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid. He was acting as FOO [Forward Observation Officer] and established himself close to the objective. When the advance was held up he went forward under heavy fire and joined the infantry, and returned with information of their position. Throughout he sent in most valuable information.” 149th Brigade took part in the Battle of Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). At some point Harold was wounded but there is no clue in the brigade's war diary when this happened. It might have been in August during which the diary says three officers were killed and eleven were wounded, or almost 50 per cent, an unusually large tally. The diary records: "Having taken part the attack of July 31 [at Zillebeke], the Bde remained in action defending the line until August 10th." Later in the month it took part in two barrages on the nights of the 26/27 and 31/1 near Wytschaete. In September the diary says casualties only amounted to four Other Ranks. However he was injured, Harold was evacuated back to a hospital on the Channel coast where he died on 26 September 1917, aged 33. He left a wife, Constance M Musson, who after the war was recorded as living at 79 Belsize Park Gardens, Hampstead, London. He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, France, grave XXVIII.A.9, and is remembered in Oakham School Chapel, as well as in St Andrew's Church in central Buenos Aires, Argentina.
We're grateful to Harold's grandson Jim Kennard for extra detail including the following: "His widow, my grandmother, was my dearest friend as a child so I suspect he was quite a chap. Harold had two daughters, my mother Renee and her sister Nancy, who was born around the time of his death. Nancy died in a plane crash in Ghana in 1947 where she now rests. My mother married another AngloArgentine and we lived there to 1963. My two sisters and I, and our children, are all that exists in Harold's line. My grandmother never remarried. Harold had a younger brother Eric who also fought in WW1 but survived and spent the rest of his life in Argentina. He does have family who live on there.
The portrait of Harold Musson and the photograph below of his medals and "widow's penny" are courtesy Jim Kennard
The photograph of him in the school cricket team is courtesy Oakham School
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