Born 26 February 1889, Birmingham
Died 26 March 1940, Marylebone
28th player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
Played against the Army in 1909, 1912, 1913
Played for the Army against the Navy in 1910, 1911
Inter Service Record
Played 5 Won 4 Drew 0 Lost 1
Inter Service Titles 4
1909 Royal Navy 22 Army 0
1912 Royal Navy 16 Army 8
1913 Royal Navy 18 Army 8
1910 Army 10 Royal Navy 19
1911 Army 22 Royal Navy 13
Colonel Harold Harrison Royal Marines was won of two players through history who played for both the Royal Navy and the Army in the annual Army Navy match. I am not sure that would be acceptable today although the regulations still permit it for Royal Marines. To the Army he was called “Tiny” but within Navy Rugby circles he was known by the much more imposing nickname of “Dreadnought”. Having been capped for the Navy in 1909 he and EJB Tagg became the only players in the history of the fixture to play for both sides when they were selected for the Army in 1910. However Tagg was not selected again so Harrison is the only player to have tasted victory for both sides. He was to win again, with the Army, in 1914 having played for the Navy in both 1912 and 1913. In total he won 6 Inter Service caps, 3 for each of the Navy and the Army and was on the winning side five times.
His distinguished rugby career started at the famous King Edward School, Birmingham and he went on to play for US Portsmouth, the Royal Navy, the Army, the Barbarians and England. He won further honour with the Kent county team and also represented the Midlands Division.
His debut for England was in the loss to Scotland in 1909. A match played at the Richmond Atheletic Ground. He was not to play again until 1914 when he played in three of the four matches in England’s Grand Slam. He was alongside fellow Navy man Arthur Harrison for the Ireland and French matches and also played a full part in the 16 – 15 win over Scotland at Inverleith. In this game Harold converted two of Cyril Lowe’s tries.
Harold was obviously well respected by the famous Barbarians clubs who selected him on eight occasions. This included games against Cardiff, Leicester and also a South African Services team.
As with many rugby players of his time Harrison was not just a fine player but also a very courageous Marine. He was mentioned in despatches on two occasions and also won the DSO for action at Pozieres. The London Gazette reported his citation thus: “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He carried out two dangerous reconnaissances far in front of our foremost line, and brought back valuable reports. On both occasions he was under heavy shell and rifle fire. He had previously been observing from a tree when it was struck by a direct hit from an enemy gun.”