1. Memorial:Devonshire Cemetery Mametz
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.133
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour8A GQS
4. Book:De Ruvigny's Roll of HonourVol III.

Awards & Titles:


Education & Career :

Attended Tonbridge School - School House 1904 - 1909.

"Harold Leslie Rayner came to Tonbridge in September, 1904, from Heddon Court School, having been elected to the Second Entrance Scholarship in the previous June. He soon showed his ability and power, and, being appointed a House Praepostor in September, 1907, became a School Praepostor in 1908, and was Captam of the School 1908—9. He was in the XV. in 1908—9, and rowed 3 in the School IV. in 1908, and stroked it in 1909, in which year he was Captain of the Boats. In 1907, '08 and '09, he was awarded the Prize for Greek Iambics, and in 1909 the Prize for Greek Prose and the Lucas Epigram Prize. He won the 1st Prize in the Upper VI. and the Gold Pen for Classics in 1908, and was bracketed with S. A. Wadsworth for the Upper VI. Prize in 1909. In 1908 he was awarded the first Judd Leaving Exhibition of £75, for Classics, and in the autumn won an Open Classical Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford."

For a full and detailed biography see Tonbridge at War.

Military :


Unit :9th Battalion The Devonshire Regiment 
Attached : 
Action :The Battles of the Somme 1916 

Detail :

De Ruvignys RAYNER, HAROLD LESLIE, 2nd Lieut., 9th (Service) Battn. The Devonshire Regt., yr. s. of the late Edward Rayner, of Beechlands, Wadhurst, by his wife, Louisa, dau. of Thomas Petch; and brother to Surgeon E. Rayner, R.N. (q.v.); b. Hampstead, London N., 19 Jan. 1890; educ. Heddon Court; Tonbridge Public School (Entrance Scholar), where he was appointed a House Praeposter in Sept. 1907, and a School Praeposter in 1908, being captain of the school 1908-9; was in the XV. in 1908, and stroked it in 1909, in which year he was captain of the boats. In 1908 he was awarded the first Judd Leaving Exhibition of £75, for Classics and in the autumn won an open Classical Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, There he took a First Class in Classical Moderations and a Second in the Final School of Literae Humaniores, being also President of the College Boat Club, and a Sergt. in the O.T.C.; after taking Greats he spent a year at Oxford, reading Geography, and took the University Certificate with honours. When war broke out in Aug. 1914, he was travelling round the world but returned as soon as possible; applied for a commission, and was gazetted 2nd Lieut. 9th Battn. the Devonshire Regt. 22 Dec. 1914; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from July, 1915, where his battalion took the place of a Guards' Battn. in the immortal 7th Division, and was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme 1 July, 1916. Buried in a trence at Mansel Copse, near Mametz, now enclosed as the Devons' Cemetery; unm.

Probate: RAYNER Harold Leslie of Beechlands Wadhurst Sussex died 1 July 1916 in France Probate London 27 September to Louisa Rayner widow Frederic Walter Burton retired bank manager and Alfred Benjamin Cloutman company director. Effect £13228 14s 9d.

The Battle of the Somme 1st July - 18th November 1916 is inevitably characterised by the appalling casualties (60,000) on the first day, July 1st 1916. Having failed to break through the German lines in force, and also failed to maximise opportunities where success was achieved, the battle became a series of attritional assaults on well defended defence in depth. The battle continued officially until 18th November 1916 costing almost 500,000 British casualties. German casualties were about the same, and French about 200,000. The Somme could not be counted a success in terms of ground gained or the cost, but it had a strategic impact as it marked the start of the decline of the German Army. Never again would it be as effective whilst the British Army, learning from its experience eventually grew stronger to become a war winning army. The German High Command recognised that it could never again fight another Somme, a view that advanced the decision to invoke unrestricted submarine warfare in an attempt to starve Britain of food and material, and in doing so accelerated the United States declaration of war thus guaranteeing the eventual outcome. 287 Brethren were killed on the Somme in 1916.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Apollo University No. 357 E.C.Oxfordshire

28th October 1912
26th November 1912
27th February 1913

Harold is listed as an Undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University when he was initiated into Freemasonry and Apollo Lodge No. 357, aged 22 in 1912. His war service is recorded in the contribution records of the lodge, where the final annotation is "Killed in Action July /1916."

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-02-09 08:56:15