Montgomery, Herbert. Died 27th Mar 1917

Herbert was born in 1877 at Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire, son of Dennis and Harriet Montgomery. He lived at home with his parents in Ashby until his marriage. This took place on 12 June 1905 at Great Creaton. He was 26, a stockman, and his bride Kate Mary Johnson was 21 and born in Hollowell. They were living in Ashby in 1911 with their two daughters, Violet and Gertrude. Herbert probably worked for the Ashby estate which owned most of the village.

His service record has been destroyed, but he joined the Essex Regiment, 1/5 Bn, service number 251731, probably as he had a family after conscription was introduced in early 1916. This battalion had formed part of the 161st (Essex) Brigade which was sent to Gallipoli where it landed in August 1915 to try to restart the campaign there, but was withdrawn to Alexandria that December, and remained in the Egypt/Palestine theatre.

Early in 1917 the Brigade crossed the Sinai Desert to take part in the Palestine Campaign. The First Battle of Gaza took place on 26 March 1917.

The Battle was the first attempt by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) to invade the south of Palestine in the Ottoman Empire. Fighting took place in and around the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast when infantry and mounted infantry from the Desert Column, a component of the Eastern Force, attacked the town. Late in the afternoon, on the verge of capturing Gaza, the Desert Column was withdrawn due to concerns about the approaching darkness and large Ottoman reinforcements.

The Essex Brigade was ordered to take Green Hill towards the end of the day. Despite heavy fighting, it was a complete success, but they were then ordered to withdraw. The Turks had not reoccupied the position overnight. Patrols were sent out but a Turkish counter-attack finished the battle. There were 228 casualties on Green Hill.

It seems that Herbert was wounded in this fighting, and died the next day

Gaza War Cemetery from the CWGC website

He is buried in Gaza War Cemetery together with a number of other men from his regiment. His outstanding pay of £2 2s and a war gratuity of £3 were sent to his widow Kate, the sole legatee of his will. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

He is commemorated on the War Memorial at Ashby St Ledgers (Three of the six names on the memorial are Montgomery), but it is not absolutely certain that this is the man whose name is on the Rugby Memorial Gates, although he seems the likeliest candidate of all the men named H Montgomery on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

The whereabouts of his family after the war is unknown.




Sources: Census returns, parish registers for Ashby St Ledgers & Creaton, and Register of Soldiers Effects on Ancestry, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, wikipedia

Horswill, Algernon Sidney. Died 26th Mar 1917

Algernon Sidney Horswill was born 2nd March 1892 to Charles and Fanny Horswill at Coventry, Warwickshire and was baptised 26th December 1892 at Holy Trinity Church Coventry. The family were living at 4 Irby Terrace, Foleshill Road, Coventry and his father occupation is given as clerk.   Algernon’s parents were married 18th September 1890 at the Parish Church of St Thomas Coventry.   Algernon’s mother‘s maiden name was Burton. On the census of 1901 Algernon is the only child and his father, Charles is working as a clerk in the cycle trade and they are all living at Palmerston Road Coventry in the Parish of St. Thomas Coventry.

By the time of the next census, 1911, Algernon and his parents are living in Rugby at 48 Craven Road. Algernon is a teacher for the Warwickshire County Council and his father is a bookkeeper at engineering works.

Algernon went as a student to St Marks College Chelsea and where on the 21st October 1912 he signed an Attestation form to serve in the Territorial Force, he was then aged 20 years 7 months and his number on the form was 1319.

His Battalion was formed at Stamford Brook September 1914

Moved to Staines November 1914 and joined the 201st Brigade 0f the Welsh Division

Moved to Cambridge and Transferred to Welsh Border Brigade, of the Welsh Division

Moved to Bedford May 1915

Unit renamed 160th Brigade and the 53rd Division 13th May 1915

Mobilised for war 18th July 1915

Landed at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli 9th August 1915 and was engaged in the action and were also at the Battle of Scimitar Hill. Due to heavy losses from the fighting and the severe weather conditions they were evacuated to Egypt December 1915

In November 1915 the Rugby Advertiser reported a letter Private A. S. Horswill, a former member of Murray School Staff wrote to Mr. W. T. Coles Hodges from a “dug out” in the Mediterranean theatre says:-

“We landed on August 9th three weeks after leaving England, and proceeded straight to the firing line under shrapnel fire.   We saw life for four days. Talk about snipers! They were up in the trees, absolutely surrounding us; they were the chief cause of the casualties. Fortunately they were more or less indifferent shots; otherwise we should have come off worse off than we did. Since then we have had various trips to firing line, interspersed with spasms of “fatigue” work, unloading lighters, filling water-cans for the firing line, and digging. We see some glorious sunsets out here at times; also some very fine play of light on various islands. I myself never believed the deep blue sea theory till we came out here. In the Mediterranean you get a lovely ultra-marine in the day, which gradually darkens to deep indigo in the evening.”

He saw action at the Battle of Romani 4th – 5th August 1916 and was involved in the Second Battle of Gaza 17 – 19 April 1917, by this date he had been reported missing and was listed as having been killed in action 26th March 1917.


Algernon’s service number was changed from 1319 to 290110, and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records he is also under service number TF/290110 2nd/10th Bn. Middlesex Regiment and with that last service number CWGC gives the place of his memorial. In the Forces War Record Algernon is under 290110 (late 1319) and he is given as being in the E. E. F. Signal Section and is given as missing 26th March 1917 but with no place of a memorial in their records, under TF/290110 he is given as being killed in action 26th March 1917 and the record names his parents and their address 48 Craven Road Rugby.

Algernon’s name is on the Jerusalem Memorial, panels 41 and 42, for those who have no known grave and also on the Rugby Memorial Gates. He was 25 years of age at the time of his death and had never married and was the only child of Charles and Fanny Horswill.

Algernon was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.