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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 9657
6th Battalion King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)
Who was Killed in Action on Sunday, 8th October 1916
Age 27

Buried Section I Row G Grave 42
Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas de Calais, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery

Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France1

Horace George Cudworth was born in Borrowash, Derbyshire in 1889 2, one of five surviving children of John James (b. c1859, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts) and Mary Ann Cudworth (b. c1863, Leicester née Geary). Early in their marriage, John James had worked as a self-employed fishmonger in Ockbrook, Derbyshire but, in about 1892, the family, including the their two oldest sons who were born in Borrowash, moved to Beeston, probably attracted by the opportunities offered by Humber's bicycle factory. In 1901 the family, including Horace, was living at 43 Upper Regent Street, Beeston3 with John James working as a cycle brazier and John William, the eldest son, working as a cycle spoke polisher. Three younger children had been born since their arrival in Beeston. By 1911 - by which time they had moved to 37 Imperial Road, Beeston4 - there had been a number of changes in the family. John James was now employed as a iron foundry moulder, a change that probably caused by the Humber Company's sudden move to Coventry in 1908. The eldest son, John William, had died in 1908, age 20, daughter Mabel had married Harry Pearce and they were living with the family and a nephew, Godfrey George Jenson had joined the family. In the midst of this change, probably in 1908, Horace joined the Army and, in 1911, was stationed in Hong Kong with 1st Battalion King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)5.

When war broke out in August 1914, 1st Battalion was stationed in Singapore and was recalled to England immediately and landed in Southampton on 9th November. On December 17th the battalion came under the command of 83rd Brigade in 28th Division on 17th December, moving to Hursley Park near Winchester before embarking for France on 16th January 1915. During that year the battalion was in action at the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Loos6. While Private Cudworth appears to have been with 1st Battalion during that time, it appears that he was transferred to 6th Battalion at some point, prior to October 1915 when 1st Battalion was moved to Salonika. 6th Battalion had been raised as a service battalion in August 1914 and joined 43rd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division). After training, it had embarked for France on 21 May 1915 and saw action in July at Hooge - when they faced flamethrowers for the first time - and at the attack on Bellewaarde in September. It seems likely that Private Cudworth would have been part of a transfer of more experienced men to strengthen, guide and encourage the less experienced volunteer army7.

By the end July 1916 the battalion had been in the trenches at St Nicholas, north of Arras in the Pas-de-Calais region of France for about six weeks. Elsewhere, on the Somme, of course, the major offensive was on-going and there had been major setbacks and losses there and, at the end of August, the battalion was part of reinforcements that were provided. In what became a feat of considerable endurance, the battalion marched for two days, a distance of 30 miles, in the heat of summer before completing the first stage of its journey at Prouville. In the two days, about 260 men dropped out from exhaustion, some of then needing medical attention. The first day was particularly bad as the men had been required to wear steel helmets. From there, they continued, on foot and by train to Dernancourt and on to Mametz on the Somme. The shocking scene they found there was recorded in the battalion war diary - "The sights coming up were extraordinary. All the villages absolutely flattened and the trenches obliterated. Our guns seem to be everywhere and continue shelling all the time". By 15 August they were in action at Delville Wood, attacks that were particularly intense on 18-19th August. After a difficult time, the battalion was finally relieved on 29th but in conditions that were particularly trying, heavy rain having left almost knee-high mud that had to be traversed. The battalion was part of another major action on 16th September8.

At midnight on the 22nd September, the overall command of 43rd Brigade - of which 6th Battalion was part - passed to 3rd Army and began to move to the Arras area. The battalion arrived there on 3rd October and, for the time being, things were relatively quite. However, it was on the 8th that Private Cudworth is recorded as having been killed in action - which is confirmed by the list of named casualties recorded in the battalion's war diary - a feature not common in such diaries but one that was diligently carried out by the responsible junior officer at that time. However, the diary text itself does not - as at other time it does routinely - record any men killed or wounded in action on that day. It does however record that "the Germans put a barrage near the Railway Station, one shell unfortunately killing 2 policeman and wounding 2 others". The number of casualties matches those included in the casualty lists for that date (3 named killed - including Private Cudworth - and one wounded, with one of those killed known to have died of wounds). This may lead to the tentative conclusion that Private Cudworth was assigned to a regimental policing role when he was killed9.

Private Cudworth was buried in the Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery. This cemetery, in the Pas de Calais region of France, contains 2,650 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 10 of which are unidentified. He was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British Medal10.

His Army financial effects of 14 14 2d were paid to his mother, as the sole legatee of his Soldier's Will, on 5 March 1917 and she received his War Gratuity of 12 10s on 3 October 1919. By this time, the family had moved to 33 Imperial Road, Beeston where they were to stay for many years.

1The photograph of Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Shardlow Registration District (of which Borrowash was part) in Q2/1889 (Ref 7b 3507). He appears, for some reason, to have been baptised at Hope, Derbyshire on 3rd September 1889.
3Beeston, Notts : 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 122
Horace's siblings were John William (2887-1908), Mabel Margarite (b. 1891), Royce Frederick (b. 1897) and Reginald Philip (b. 1901).
4Beeston, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20428 RD429 SD3 ED3 Schedule 68.
5H.M. Forces in China & Hong Kong, Census 1911. Piece 34995
6Details of 1st battalion's movements before and during the early part of the war are from the "Long, Long Trail" website (www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/kings-own-yorkshire-light-infantry/
7Details of 6th battalion's formation and deployment during the early part of the war are from the "War Memories Project" website (www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/battalion.php?pid=6459)
8The more detailed summary of 6th Battalion's deployment between July and October 1916 are based on the battalion's War Diary. This is particularly notable for the interesting, more personal comments on the conditions that were then being faced.
9This tentative conclusion is based on a detailed analysis of the war diary and its associated casualty lists. Service records, for Private Cudworth or others within the group of casualties on that day, do not appear to have survived.
10Horace's medal awards are recorded in the Medal Rolls and Medal Card, available on ancestry.com. His medal card confirms his embarkation date as 15 January 1915.
11Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, available on ancestry.com

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