A movie romance: The Hartlepool sweethearts who survived World War One

Joan White
Joan White

HAROLD and Ellen Money had the sort of romance which movies are made out of.

The couple first met in a hospital ward in 1916 and, after the briefest of courtships, found that world conflict kept them apart.

George Potter and Florance Money

George Potter and Florance Money

And it was only when Harold returned home, having survived the last two years of the First World War by a thread, that true love could really blossom.

The fact that the story can still be told is down to their daughter Joan White, now 87, but with a memory of it all which is as fresh as a daisy.

She shares the heartwarming tale with the Hartlepool Mail.

Joan, a mother of five, grandmother of 13 and great grandmother of 13, from the Owton Manor area of town, told us: “My father was born in Watdord and rose to corporal in the Great War. My mother was born in Trimdon but she went south to be a nurse when she was only 15 or 16.

“She was a State Registered Nurse, and she was at a hospital in Watford.”

Harold Money signed up to serve his country when he was 16 years old. Ironically, when he was 18, the British Army came looking for him to ask if he wanted to serve his country.

Joan said: “The thing was, he had already been doing it for two years.”

Joan explained how her mum and dad met.

“My dad must have been home on leave from the British Expeditionary Force when he went with his father to visit the hospital.”

Harold’s father – Joan’s grandfather – was George Money, and he was a carpenter by trade. He was also on the board of directors at the hospital, and took his son on a hospital tour.

Harold and Ellen, nee Shaw, met and began courting each other until they were separated by war.

But as Joan said: “They started writing to each other and they got engaged. I have still got my mam’s engagement ring.”

Harold was one of the lucky ones. He made it through the war to return home, but his Army experience had its dicey moments.

Joan explained how he was caught up in a gas attack on the front line and never got over it in peacetime. “He always had a rash on his chest and sometimes he would suffer funny turns as if he was drunk, but he didn’t drink.

“There would be times when we would be walking along with my mam and dad, and he would say ‘you go ahead’. He would be stumbling a bit but it was him affected by the war.”

The couple went on to have a long and happy life together. Ellen passed away aged 67 on June 18, 1962. Harold lived until he was 70 and died on August 31, 1968.

Our thanks go to Joan for sharing her family tree.

We’re calling on other people to do the same.

Anyone who would like to contribute to our Family Roots column should contact Chris Cordner by phoning (01429) 239377 or emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk