Hudson, Henry John Gerrard. Died 20th May 1917

Henry John Gerrard HUDSON, was born on 11 November 1873 in Whitechapel, Middlesex. He was the son of John Gerrard Hudson, who was a ‘Paper Stainer’.

Henry was apparently already working as a ‘Paper Stainer’, like his father, when at the age of 16, he joined the Navy and with the number: 147608, first served from 5 to 9 January 1889 on HMS Impregnable, a training establishment at Devonport, and then on HMS Ganges, another training establishment.   He later returned to HMS Impregnable and then was posted to HMS Ruby, a composite screw corvette launched in 1876.   HMS Ruby was at Sheerness when Henry was enumerated, aged 17, for the 1891 census.

Over the next ten years his Navy Service Record shows he was on some eight different ships or shore stations. In 1892 he became an Able Seaman, and in 1897 a Leading Seaman, but then was dropped back to Able Seaman. He does not seem to appear on the 1901 census, but his Record shows that he was on HMS Caesar, a Majestic-class pre-dreadnought battleship and had regained the rank of Leading Seaman.

Over the next couple of years he served on a further four different ships, and then seems to have left the Navy on 13 May 1902, presumably having completed the 12 years service that he signed up for.

He probably returned home to London, as some five years later he married Alice Emily Martin on 13 January 1907 at All Souls, Newington, Southwark.   He was 33 and she was from Bermondsey and was 28.

They seem to have remained in London for a while as their first two children were born there: Nancy Hudson was born in Walworth in about 1909, and Gladys Hudson in Camberwell the following year. However, by 1911 the family was living at 13 Southview Road, Weymouth, Dorset, and Henry was again associated with the sea, being a ‘Motor Boat Driver, General Providers’.

At some date between 1911 and 1914 the family moved to Rugby, and it is likely that they had a further child, a son, John G Hudson who was registered in Q2 1914. By 1914, Henry was working at BTH, in the Wiring Dept.   ‘Hudson’ was listed among the latest recruits from the BTH Works in September 1914.[1]

Henry Hudson’s Service Record notes that he rejoined HMS Victory on 2 September 1914; he was later posted to Eastern Gorleston, President IV [possibly mis-numbered – it was a London accounting base from 1918] and lastly Pembroke I on 12 April 1917

HMS Pembroke was the name given to a shore barracks at Chatham. It was commissioned in 1878, moved ashore in 1903 and was paid off in 1983. The buildings, designed by Sir Henry Pilkington, now house the University at Medway. A number of ships were renamed Pembroke while serving as base and depot ships for the establishment: HMS Trent was HMS Pembroke from 1905 until 1917.

Leading-Seaman Henry Hudson died, aged 43, on 20 May 1917 ‘… at R N Hospital Chatham, after a serious operation’,[2] although another record suggests that he ‘Died from disease’. This was probably part of the shore based HMS Pembroke and became the Royal Naval Hospital in Windmill Road – which is still known as the Medway Maritime Hospital.

He was buried in Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery in Grave Ref: Naval. 27. 1421. The cemetery has a large naval section reserved by the Admiralty and that section contains most of the war graves as well as burials of the pre-war and inter-war years.

Henry probably only served on land stations during WWI, as he was already a ‘Leading Seaman (retired)’, but he was awarded the British War Medal – the criteria being 28 days mobilised service, but without a requirement for overseas service.   There is no record of him receiving the Victory Medal for which recipients had to be mobilised and to have entered a theatre of war.

At the end of the war his widow’s address was noted as 1, Bakehouse Lane, New Bilton, Rugby.

Henry John Gerrard Hudson is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.   He is also remembered on the New Bilton War Memorial, by the chapel in Croop Hill Cemetery, Addison Road – the Memorial reads ‘In the Great War these died for England 1914-1919’.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Henry John Gerrard HUDSON was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, May 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 26 September 1914.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, Deaths, 26 May 1917.

Knight, William Albert. Died 13th May 1917

Albert as he was known in the family, was born in 1895, and baptised at St Paul’s Church, Northampton on 2 June. His parents, George Walter Knight and Sarah Dudley Markham, were married in Northampton Registration District in September Quarter of 1892. George was born in Wilby Northants and Sarah in Buckingham.

They had three other children, George Walter jnr born 1893, Ernest James born 1897, and Dora Elizabeth born 1899. All four were baptised at St Paul’s; their father was a labourer, and the family were living first in Burleigh Street, Northampton when their eldest child was born, then at 6 Richmond Terrace where Albert was born. They were still there in 1901.

By 1911 they had moved to 107 Winfield Street, Rugby. George snr was unfortunately now an invalid, but his three sons were all working, George jnr and Albert at an electrical works (British Thompson Houston) and Ernest an errand boy for a boot shop. They must have thought work opportunities to be greater in Rugby than Northampton.

107 Winfield St, Rugby

Albert enlisted at the outbreak of war at Rugby as William Knight, and joined the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, No 18263. He was sent to France on 4 December 1915, qualifying him for the 1915 Star as well as the British War and Victory medals. This is confirmed by the report of his death in the Rugby Advertiser on 2 June 1917.

The South Staffs formed part of the 7th Division which saw action all through the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 1917 they fought throughout the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line during the Arras offensive.

On 13 May 1917 the Regiment along with the Australians was ordered to attack the heavily fortified village of Bullecourt. It was believed to be weakened by days of heavy bombardment but this was not so, and a vicious battle ensued. The Regiment was caught in crossfire at a location known as the Red Patch. After three days Bullecourt was taken with the loss of 2 officers and 37 men killed.

It was probably during this action that Albert was killed aged 22, but he may have been wounded and died later, as Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery where he is buried was occupied from April 1917 by two casualty clearing stations.

Achiet le Grand cemetery entrance

The list of Soldiers Effects records that he “died in the field” rather than was “killed in action”.   His mother as his sole legatee received his back pay of £8.18s.11d, and War Gratuity of £12.10s. His father had died in 1914.

He is commemorated on the BTH memorial in Rugby (as A W Knight) as well as the Memorial Gates.     The above notice of his death also records “He enlisted at the outbreak of war, and prior to that was employed in the BTH Winding Department. He had been in France a year, and some time ago distinguished himself by saving the life of an officer at great personal danger to himself”.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Hipwell, George William Ward. Died 3rd May 1917

George William Ward Hipwell was born in Old Basford, Nottingham on 9 April 1885, and was christened in New Bilton, Warwickshire on 9 December 1885.   His parents were George Henry Ward Hipwell, born in Ullesthorpe in 1859 and Annie Elizabeth, born in about 1862 in Long Lawford. In 1911 George Henry was a cabman living at 27 King Edward Road, Rugby, they had ten children and nine were still living, and living with them, in 1911.

George William was the eldest of those ten children and in 1911 he was an Electrical Engineering Fitter at BTH works in Rugby.

George William enlisted in Rugby, as a Private, No.11894, in the 5th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He probably joined up at the same time as many other men – many from Hillmorton – who also joined the 5th Battalion. He went to France with his Battalion on 22 July 1915.

He must have had leave as his marriage with Bertha Frances A. Ingram was registered in Rugby in the first quarter of 1916 [Rugby Q1, 1916, 6d, 1383].

George was killed in action on 3 May 1917.   The action on that day was recorded the following day, by Lieut.-Colonel, H. L. Wood, who was commanding the 5th Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

RECORD OF THE 5th (SERVICE) BATTALION.1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917.

The movements of the 42nd Brigade to positions of assembly on “Y” day and “Y”/”Z” night had been previously notified, thus:

The 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry from N.14.b via Brigade H.Q.(N.15.d.4.4), N.22 central, N.23.d.8.4, along the bank and via the railway. The Battalion will move by platoons in file at 3 minutes’ interval. The leading platoon to arrive at Brigade H.Q. at 8 p.m. Water will be issued to men requiring it, under Brigade arrangements at Brigade H.Q. The Battalion will be clear of Cross Roads N.22.a by 9.15p.m., and will proceed in file to their Assembly Trenches. All trenches have been labelled. All units (less 9th K.R.R.C.) will report by runner to Advance Brigade H.Q. in the Stag as soon as they are in their positions of assembly. As soon as Battalions are in their Assembly Trenches an issue of hot tea and rum will be made under Brigade arrangements. The Assembly Trenches were named “zoologically,” and the Battalion assembled for the assault in portions of the Ape, the Boar, the Buck, the Lion, and the Bison. ‘Z’ day was 3rd May and zero hour 3.45a.m. The following is Lieut.-Colonel H.L. Wood’s Official Report of action of the Battalion:

 —

At zero the Battalion was formed up as follows: A and C Companies in the front line, A on the right, C on the left; B and D Companies in the second line, B on the right, D on the left; each company in two lines of two platoons. The front line was on the taped line, the second line in Ape Trench. The German artillery and machine-guns opened fire within 3 minutes of our barrage commencing; most of the artillery fire was between Ape and Bison. Until the advance commenced at zero plus 18 there were only a few casualties from artillery fire in Ape, and none in the companies in front. On the other hand, the machine-gun fire was very heavy and accurate, and came from the left flank (either from St. Rohart Factory or from the Quarry in 0.15.c) and front (from the Quarry at 0.21.b.8.0 or from Triangle Wood).

At zero plus 18 the advance commenced and reached a line about 50 yards west of New Trench, beyond which it was found impossible to advance farther on the left. On the right of the line 2nd Lieut. Peel (A Company) found it possible to avoid the machine-gun fire by crawling, and he got a few men forward and occupied part of New Trench. As touch had been lost with the 8th K.R.R.C., 2nd Lieut. Peel brought up the reserve platoon of A Company on his right flank, and gained touch with them. This was about 4.30 a.m. About this time the remainder of A Company and part of D Company managed to get into New Trench on the left of A Company. The Germans who had been holding New Trench retired to a line about 40 yards in rear, from which they heavily bombed and opened fire with two machine-guns on New Trench. These were, however, soon silenced by rifle and Lewis-gun fire. It was, however, found impossible to advance owing to the very accurate and unceasing machine-gun fire from the left, and also to a certain extent from the front. The artillery fire also became fairly heavy about this time. The situation now was as follows: about 50 men of all companies in New Trench, and parties of B and D Companies (about two platoons in all) in a line of shell-holes about 40 yards behind. This party tried to consolidate, but found it impossible to work owing to the incessant machine-gun fire, snipers, and heavy Vane-bomb fire, which came from the left flank, probably from Hillside Work. The situation remained unchanged until about 10.45a.m., New Trench being shelled continuously, while a very heavy barrage was maintained on the Assembly Trenches. At about 10.45a.m. the troops on our right were observed retiring, and a strong enemy counter-attack in 6 or 7 waves (each estimated by those in the front line at about 150 to 200 men) was launched against New Trench. Fire was immediately opened on them with all available rifles, Lewis-guns, and two Vickers which had come up, and many casualties were inflicted, but without stopping the counter-attack. When the enemy had got within 50 yards of New Trench, and our ammunition was practically all expended, the remnants withdrew to the Assembly Trenches, bringing back as many Lewis-guns as possible. The two Vickers had to be abandoned.

… The casualties were: A Company (Right leading) 75, out of 129 who attacked. C Company (Left leading) 84, out of 118. B Company (Right Support) 57, out of 123. D Company (Left Support) 62, out of 123. H.Q. 13, out of 30, including bombers who went over behind the leading company.[1]

Of the 12 officers and 523 N.C.O.s and Men who went into action on 3 May 1917, 8 officers and 291 N.C.O.s and Men became casualties.

George William Hipwell’s body was not found and he is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D´Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article  was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, May 2015.

[1]         http://www.lightbobs.com/5-oxf–bucks-li-1916-1917.html

Poole, Frank. Died 24th Apr 1917

Frank Poole was born in Rugby and baptised on 22nd Aug 1897 at St Matthews Church. He was the only son of Samuel Johnson and Emma Poole who lived at 178 Cambridge Street Rugby. Samuel was a boot maker.

Frank Poole attended Murray School from where he had gained a scholarship to the Lower School, which was on the site of the present day Lawrence Sheriff School. He was first employed in the B.T.H. offices and then as a junior clerk in The Rugby Gas Co’s Office.

He attested for the war under the Derby Group Scheme and joined up July 1916 after reaching his 19th Birthday. He served with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwick Regiment.   Frank Poole was killed in action 24th April 1917, aged 19 years.

According to his obituary, published in the Rugby Advertiser on 5th May 1917, he was a good singer and as a boy was a member of the Holy Trinity Church Choir, also being a teacher at the Murray Sunday School. He had a quiet unassuming nature and was generally loved and respected by those who knew him.

He is buried at La Chauderiere Military Cemetery Vimy France, and on his parents grave in Clifton Road Cemetery Rugby, there is a memorial to him “In loving memory of Frank Poole Roy. Wark. Reg. Killed in action in France 24th April 1917 aged 19 years. He gave his life for his God and Country. His father Samuel died July 1924 aged 63 years and his mother Emma passed away 28th December 1932 aged 72 years.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Scotton, Frank. Died 9th Apr 1917

Frank [originally Francis] Scotton, was born in Rugby in about 1891, the eldest son of Theophilus and Matilda Scotton. He had five brothers and sisters. He attended Murray Road School.[1]

In 1911 Frank was 20, unemployed and was still living with his family at 8 Argyle Street, Rugby.   However, the records show that later, until just before the war, Frank was working at British Thompson Houston in Rugby.

At the outbeak of war, he enlisted in Rugby as a Private No.11892, in the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry [Ox and Bucks].

The 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford and then moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot in February 1915 to be placed under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. They mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on 21 May 1915.

Frank’s Medal Card shows he went to France a few days later on 26 May 1915 and he would have been engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1915: the Action of Hooge, and probably experienced part of the first flamethrower attack by the Germans; the Second Attack on Bellewaarde and in 1916: the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.

At some stage Frank had been wounded,[2] but was returned to action.

Then in 1917 with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the so called Battle of Arras and particularly, the First Battle of the Scarpe (9–14 April 1917) which was conducted in parallel with the attack by the mainly Canadian Divisions on Vimy Ridge, slightly to the north. Both these being in part diversions for a major French attack to the south, which in the event was unsuccessful.

The 14th Light) Division were part of the VII Corps (under Snow) within the Third Army (under Allenby). The Battalion diary[3] summarised the events in Early 1917 …

The Battalion had its full share in the fighting of the first half of this year, suffering the inevitable heavy casualties, but adding still further to its splendid reputation. It took part in the great British offensive which opened on the 9th April, on a ten-mile front, from the south of Arras to the south of Lens; and it was engaged again in the next great offensive on the 3rd May in the same area, losing no fewer than 185 of all ranks in the former and 300 in the latter.

March 1st-15thThe Battalion had one tour of the trenches, losing 1 man killed and 5 men wounded. On the 15th marched to Sombrin, and went into training for the coming offensive.

March 11th – 31stThis period was devoted to strenuous training, including a rehearsal of an attack on the Harp, the German trench system east of Arras at the junction of the front-line system and the Cojeul Switch.

April 4th – The Battalion moved to Dunedin Caves (Made by quarrying chalk for the building of Arras. For our purposes they were now connected by tunnels and lighted by electricity.) One of the six large caves accommodating some 5,000 men. Three officers’ patrols were sent out at night …

April 5th -7th

At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.

Attack on the Harp. – The operations now in course of preparation were to take the form of a combined attack to the south of Lens. Elaborate Secret Orders were issued between the 3rd and 7th April, and from the 3rd to the 5th a heavy bombardment was carried out. At 7 a.m. on the 7th the following Operation Orders were issued by the 42nd Infantry Brigade:

  1. The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day:
    5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry:
    In Sardine Trench (300 yards). In Roach Trench (260 yards). In Trout Trench (250 yards).
    In Salmon Trench (150 yards) from its right flank (western end) to M.6.C.61.51, where old German cable trench cuts it at right angles. Total: 960 yards.
  1. Units will reach their assembly positions as follows … 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I – from Christchurch Cave by Exit No. 14.F. (G.34.d.02.60). Leading troops to start from Cave at 9p.m., and be clear of the Cave by 10p.m. Route to Assembly Trenches – Rue de Temple – Hatter’s Lane and Halifax to Old German Front Line – Halifax and Arras Way to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by a.m. on 9th inst.

As detailed by O.C. Battalion, 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 2 a.m. on 9th inst.

REPORT OF ATTACK ON THE HARP ON 9th APRIL 1917.

The Battalion left the caves at 9 p.m., and was in position in the Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight. No casualties occurred on the way up. There was practically no shelling of the Assembly Trenches till 5.30 a.m. Between 5.30 and 7.30 a.m. the Assembly Trenches were slightly shelled with whizz-bangs and an occasional 4.2-in. chiefly from direction of Tilloy.   During this time one officer and one man were hit. At 7.34 a.m. the advance began. There was a good deal of crowding on the right owing to the Battalion on our right losing direction. This was rectified as much as possible by the company officers on the spot. During the initial stages of the advance there was practically no enemy artillery fire, but there was a certain amount of machine-gun fire from Tilloy; this, however, was mostly high and caused very few casualties. As soon as the leading line came in view of the Harp three machine-guns opened fire from behind Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp. Lewis-guns and rifle-grenades were immediately turned on to them, and their fire slackened sufficiently to enable the infantry to go forward. On reaching the front line about 50 of the enemy gave themselves up without fighting, and were passed back to the rear. There was a certain amount of resistance from the back of Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp, but the Germans gave themselves up as soon as our men reached them. About 50 Germans were captured here. As soon as both objectives had been reached consolidation was at once commenced as follows :

C Company and a part of D Company from N.7.a.6.6 to N.7.a.5.3.
A Company thence along back line of Telegraph Work to N.7.a.4.1.
Remainder of D Company from N.7.a.2.8 to about N.7.a.2.6.
B Company thence to N.7.a.2.0.

During the consolidation a machine-gun opened fire from about N.7.a.6.9, which caused a certain number of casualties. This gun was knocked out by a rifle-grenade, and was captured in conjunction with a bombing-party of the 9th K.R.R.C. About 20 minutes after reaching the objective the captured position was heavily shelled with 77-mm. and 4.2-in. for about half an hour, and a strong barrage of 5.9 in. put along the bank in M.12.b.l.9 for about one and a half hours. There were no troops advancing over this ground at that time. It only caused a certain amount of inconvenience to communications and very few casualties. About 10 a.m. all hostile artillery fire ceased, and consolidation was completed without further molestation. About this time another machine-gun and its crew were found in a dug-out. They gave themselves up without any trouble. It is impossible to state accurately the number of prisoners taken by us, but it is estimated there were about 100. Three machine-guns were also captured.

Our casualties were roughly 5 officers killed, 7 wounded, and about 180 other ranks. The battlefield was cleared of all casualties by 5 p.m., with the assistance of the prisoners.
H. L. Wood, Lieut.-Colonel, Comdg. 5th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

April 10th

The following was issued today: “complimentary order.”

“The Commander-in-Chief has personally requested me to convey to all ranks of the 14th (Light) Division his high opinion of the excellent fighting qualities shown by the Division. The commencement of the great offensive of 1917 has been marked by an initial success in which more than 11,000 prisoners and 100 guns have been taken on the first day alone. The Division has taken a prominent part in achieving this success and maintained the reputation gained last year on the Somme, and added to the laurels of the gallant regiments of which it is composed.

  1. Couper, Major-General, Comdg. 14th (Light) Division.  10th April 1917.

Frank Scotton was originally buried in ‘Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, on the South-Western slopes of the hill between Tilloy and Neuville-Vitasse, captured by the 14th Division on the 9 April 1917. The cemetery contained the graves of 147 soldiers from the United Kingdom, almost all of whom belonged to the 14th Division and fell in April 1917.’[4]

The bodies in that cemetery were later moved as part of the ‘concentration’ of smaller cemeteries and the Report notes that a new road was being built through the cemetery. Frank Scotton and many of his colleagues were exhumed and reburied in various sections of the Tilloy British Cemetery. Frank Scotton was buried in Plot: I. BB. 17.

Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras, on the south side of the main road to Cambrai. The village of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines was taken by Commonwealth troops on 9 April 1917, but it was partly in German hands again from March to August 1918.

The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by fighting units and burial officers, and Rows A to H in Plot I largely represent burials from the battlefield. The remaining graves in Plot I, and others in the first three rows of Plot II, represent later fighting in 1917 and the first three months of 1918, and the clearing of the village in August 1918. These 390 original burials were increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a wide area east of Arras and many smaller burial grounds including the Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse. The cemetery now contains 1,642 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 611 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.   The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Frank was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.

One of Frank’s younger brothers, Ernest, had been killed earlier in the war on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. He was a rifleman in the 2nd Bn. Rifle Brigade and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, and is also on the Rugby Memorial Gate [see also Rugby remembers for 1 July 1916[5]].

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Frank Scotton was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[3]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, Oxford and Bucks L.I., 1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917, Compiled by Steve Berridge, http://www.lightbobs.com.

[4]         http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/566279/SCOTTON,%20F

[5]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/scotton-ernest-died-1st-jul-1916/

Jones, Hubert Joseph. Died 9th Apr 1917

Hubert Joseph Jones was born in Rugby in 1888, and his birth was registered in Q3, 1888 in Rugby. He was the son of Albert (b.c.1849) and Elizabeth Jones (b.c.1854). Albert was an ‘Engineman Ry Driver’ and did not know where he was born! Elizabeth was born in Marton. In 1901 the family lived at 190 Oxford Street, Rugby with three children: Hubert Jones was then 12; Maud Jones was 16; and Beatrice [Elizabeth] Jones was 9.

The family hasn’t been found in the 1911 census. However, the records show that later, until just before the war, Hubert was working in the British Thompson Houston Machine Shop in Rugby.[1]

He enlisted ‘at the commencement of the war’[2] in Rugby[3] as a Private No.13581, in the 7th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry [Ox and Bucks or Oxf & B.L.I.] early in the war. He was then promoted to Corporal in the 3rd Reserve Bn. and was later moved to the 6th Bn. Oxf & B.L.I. and was finally in the 5th Battalion.

The 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford and then moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot in February 1915 to be placed under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. They mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on 21 May 1915.

Huberts’s Medal Card shows he went to France some months later on 21 September 1915 and he would have missed the actions on the Western Front in 1915. However he would have been involved in the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in 1916. Then in 1917 with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the so called Battle of Arras and particularly, the First Battle of the Scarpe (9–14 April 1917) which was conducted in parallel with the attack by the mainly Canadian Divisions on Vimy ridge, slightly to the north. Both these being in part diversions for a major French attack to the south, which in the event was unsuccessful.

The 14th Light) Division were part of the VII Corps (under Snow) within the Third Army (under Allenby). The Battalion diary[4] summarised the events in Early 1917 …

The Battalion had its full share in the fighting of the first half of this year, suffering the inevitable heavy casualties, but adding still further to its splendid reputation. It took part in the great British offensive which opened on the 9th April, on a ten-mile front, from the south of Arras to the south of Lens; and it was engaged again in the next great offensive on the 3rd May in the same area, losing no fewer than 185 of all ranks in the former and 300 in the latter.

March 1st-15thThe Battalion had one tour of the trenches, losing 1 man killed and 5 men wounded. On the 15th marched to Sombrin, and went into training for the coming offensive.

March 11th – 31stThis period was devoted to strenuous training, including a rehearsal of an attack on the Harp, the German trench system east of Arras at the junction of the front-line system and the Cojeul Switch.

April 4th – The Battalion moved to Dunedin Caves (Made by quarrying chalk for the building of Arras. For our purposes they were now connected by tunnels and lighted by electricity.) One of the six large caves accommodating some 5,000 men. Three officers’ patrols were sent out at night …

April 5th -7th

At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.

Attack on the Harp. – The operations now in course of preparation were to take the form of a combined attack to the south of Lens. Elaborate Secret Orders were issued between the 3rd and 7th April, and from the 3rd to the 5th a heavy bombardment was carried out. At 7 a.m. on the 7th the following Operation Orders were issued by the 42nd Infantry Brigade:

  1. The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day:

5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry:
In Sardine Trench (300 yards). In Roach Trench (260 yards). In Trout Trench (250 yards).
In Salmon Trench (150 yards) from its right flank (western end) to M.6.C.61.51, where old
German cable trench cuts it at right angles. Total: 960 yards.

  1. Units will reach their assembly positions as follows … 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I – from Christchurch Cave by Exit No. 14.F. (G.34.d.02.60).

Leading troops to start from Cave at 9p.m., and be clear of the Cave by 10p.m.
Route to Assembly Trenches – Rue de Temple – Hatter’s Lane and Halifax to Old German
Front Line – Halifax and Arras Way to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be
maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by a.m. on 9th inst.

As detailed by O.C. Battalion, 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 2 a.m. on 9th inst.

REPORT OF ATTACK ON THE HARP ON 9th APRIL 1917.

The Battalion left the caves at 9 p.m., and was in position in the Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight. No casualties occurred on the way up. There was practically no shelling of the Assembly Trenches till 5.30 a.m. Between 5.30 and 7.30 a.m. the Assembly Trenches were slightly shelled with whizz-bangs and an occasional 4.2-in. chiefly from direction of Tilloy. During this time one officer and one man were hit. At 7.34 a.m. the advance began. There was a good deal of crowding on the right owing to the Battalion on our right losing direction. This was rectified as much as possible by the company officers on the spot. During the initial stages of the advance there was practically no enemy artillery fire, but there was a certain amount of machine-gun fire from Tilloy; this, however, was mostly high and caused very few casualties. As soon as the leading line came in view of the Harp three machine-guns opened fire from behind Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp. Lewis-guns and rifle-grenades were immediately turned on to them, and their fire slackened sufficiently to enable the infantry to go forward. On reaching the front line about 50 of the enemy gave themselves up without fighting, and were passed back to the rear. There was a certain amount of resistance from the back of Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp, but the Germans gave themselves up as soon as our men reached them. About 50 Germans were captured here. As soon as both objectives had been reached consolidation was at once commenced as follows:

C Company and a part of D Company from N.7.a.6.6 to N.7.a.5.3.
A Company thence along back line of Telegraph Work to N.7.a.4.1.
Remainder of D Company from N.7.a.2.8 to about N.7.a.2.6.
B Company thence to N.7.a.2.0.

During the consolidation a machine-gun opened fire from about N.7.a.6.9, which caused a certain number of casualties. This gun was knocked out by a rifle-grenade, and was captured in conjunction with a bombing-party of the 9th K.R.R.C. About 20 minutes after reaching the objective the captured position was heavily shelled with 77-mm. and 4.2-in. for about half an hour, and a strong barrage of 5.9 in. put along the bank in M.12.b.l.9 for about one and a half hours. There were no troops advancing over this ground at that time. It only caused a certain amount of inconvenience to communications and very few casualties. About 10 a.m. all hostile artillery fire ceased, and consolidation was completed without further molestation. About this time another machine-gun and its crew were found in a dug-out. They gave themselves up without any trouble. It is impossible to state accurately the number of prisoners taken by us, but it is estimated there were about 100. Three machine-guns were also captured. Our casualties were roughly 5 officers killed, 7 wounded, and about 180 other ranks. The battlefield was cleared of all casualties by 5 p.m., with the assistance of the prisoners.
H. L. Wood, Lieut.-Colonel, Comdg. 5th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

April 10th

The following was issued today: “complimentary order.”

“The Commander-in-Chief has personally requested me to convey to all ranks of the 14th (Light) Division his high opinion of the excellent fighting qualities shown by the Division. The commencement of the great offensive of 1917 has been marked by an initial success in which more than 11,000 prisoners and 100 guns have been taken on the first day alone. The Division has taken a prominent part in achieving this success and maintained the reputation gained last year on the Somme, and added to the laurels of the gallant regiments of which it is composed.

  1. Couper, Major-General, Comdg. 14th (Light) Division.  10th April 1917.

Hubert Jones on was originally buried in the ‘Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, on the South-Western slopes of the hill between Tilloy and Neuville-Vitasse, captured by the 14th Division on the 9 April 1917. The cemetery contained the graves of 147 soldiers from the United Kingdom, almost all of whom belonged to the 14th Division and fell in April 1917.’[5]

The bodies in that cemetery were later moved as part of the ‘concentration’ of smaller cemeteries and one Report noted that a new road was being built through part of the cemetery. Hubert Jones and many of his colleagues were exhumed and reburied in various sections of the Tilloy British Cemetery, with Hubert being reburied in Plot III. J. 16.

Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras, on the south side of the main road to Cambrai. The village of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines was taken by Commonwealth troops on 9 April 1917, but it was partly in German hands again from March to August 1918.

The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by fighting units and burial officers, and Rows A to H in Plot I largely represent burials from the battlefield. The remaining graves in Plot I, and others in the first three rows of Plot II, represent later fighting in 1917 and the first three months of 1918, and the clearing of the village in August 1918. These 390 original burials were increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a wide area east of Arras and many smaller burial grounds including the Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse. The cemetery now contains 1,642 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 611 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

His ‘widow and sole executer’ Ellen, received £1-19-7d owing to him on 15 June 1917 and she received a further £6-0-0 gratuity on 29 October 1919.[6]

Hubert J Jones was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star.   He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on the BTH War Memorial[7] and the listing of ‘BTH Employees Who Served in the War 1914 – 1918’.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Hubert Joseph Jones was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[3]       Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[4]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, Oxford and Bucks L.I., 1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917, Compiled by Steve Berridge, http://www.lightbobs.com.

[5]         http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/566279/SCOTTON,%20F

[6]       Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, available on Ancestry.co.uk.

[7]       From the list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled, taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921. See: Rugby Family History Group website, http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/bth-war-memorial .

 

Wilkins, Albert E. Died 4th Apr 1917

Albert Edward Wilkins was born 11th May 1898 and baptised 27th July 1898 at The Holy Trinity Church, Oxford, the fifth son to John Henry and Sarah Ann Wilkins. They were living at 50 Friars Street, Oxford at the time of Albert’s baptism, and Albert’s father was working as a labourer. Albert’s parents had married 5th August 1890, at Holy Trinity. His mother’s maiden name was Kempton, and John and Sarah were both living at 1 Dale Street Oxford.   John and Sarah had other sons before Albert: -: –
John born 2nd December 1890, Buried 14th January 1, 2 years old
William born 1st May 1892, Buried 21 January 1893 10 months
Ernest Vincent private baptism 11th September 1894, Buried 29 September 1894, 29 days old
Frederick Baptised 22nd July 1896 Buried 17th December 1896, 6 months old
John and William were being buried 7 days apart.

29th August 1893 daughter Lizzie was born and was baptised 8th October 1893.   Lizzie and Albert and Lizzie both survived infancy and appear on the 1901 census with their mother and father and are living at 26 Bridport Street, St Ebbs, Oxford and their father is working as a general Labourer.

Unfortunately Albert’s mother, Sarah, died March 1903, aged 33 years, and was buried 13th March at Holy Trinity Oxford. Albert would have been 4 years old, and his sister Lizzie 9 years old. Albert then went to live with his grandmother, Fanny Kempton, who had been living nearby the family on the 1891 census. By 1911 Albert is with his grandmother in Rugby.   According to the 1911 census Albert is living at 19 King Edward Road, Rugby, with his grandmother, an uncle, Albert Kempton and a cousin Beatrice Evelyn Tedder. Albert is at school and Beatrice is at a Hosiery Factory.   Albert later worked for the B. T. H. was in the Generator Department. He enlisted in 1914 as reported in the Rugby Advertiser 28th April 1917. Albert was killed in action 4th April 1917.

“BUGLER A E WILKINS”
“News has been received that Bugler A. E. Wilkins, of the Rifle Brigade, was killed on April 4th. Bugler Wilkins at the age of 20 enlisted on September 4th 1914. Prior to the war he was employed in the Generator Department at the B. T. H., and resided with his grandmother, Mrs Kempton, of 19 King Edward Road, Rugby.”

Albert’s Brigade was, probably, at the fighting on the Hindenburg Line in France at the time of his death. There is an error in the Rugby Advertiser notice, it states that he enlisted aged 20 years but that was his age at the time of his death, he would have been 16 years old when he enlisted. When he was killed his father was still living in Oxford at 11 Friars Wharf St Ebbs Oxford. Albert would have been entitled to receive the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. He is buried in France in the Fins New British Cemetery, Sol-Le-Grande , Grave Reference I. AA. 17.

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM