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War Memorials

In Memory of
Lance Corporal 19237
12/13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Who was Killed in Action on Monday, 27th May 1918
Age 26

No Known Grave
Soissons Memorial to the "Missing", Aisne, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Soissons Memorial to the "Missing"

Soissons Memorial to the "Missing"1

Herbert Horne was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in 18912, the second of five surviving children, of Thomas (b. c1861, Nottingham) and Millicent (b. c1868, Radford, Nottingham, née Norton). The couple had moved to Beeston soon after their marriage and, by 1901 the family was living at 17 Wollaton Road, Beeston with Thomas working as a general labourer and Millicent as a charwoman3. Also living in the household at that time was Thomas's widowed mother Eliza and it is likely that she was able to give valuable support to the family then and in a period of sadness over the next three years. Later in 1901, another son, Cyril Norton Horne was born but died about a year later. Then, early in 1904, twins were born - Ellen and Millicent - who each died shortly after their birth. And, sadly, later that year, Millicent herself died, leaving five children with their father4. By 1911, the eldest son, John Thomas, had married Mabel Ann Ward and they had set up home at 37 Middleton Street, Beeston5. In 1911, Thomas and the remainder of his family continued to live at 17 Wollaton Road, Beeston with Thomas working as a lace factory labourer. Herbert, then aged 19, was working as a brass bobbin winder and May, aged 16, was keeping house6. Hilda was living with her uncle and aunt, Henry and Eliza Norton, in Radford, Nottingham7.

When war came in August 1914, it was not long before Herbert volunteered, enlisting in Nottingham in April 19158 and joined the Northumberland Fusiliers for training. In September he left for Gallipoli9. The campaign there had been mounted, originally as a naval operation, earlier that year. It had been hoped that achieving its objective of capturing Constantinople would enable the Allies to link with the Russians, force Turkey out of the War and encourage the Balkan states to join the Allies. It had also been hoped that another front would take some of the pressure from France and Belgium where operations had become bogged down and very costly in lives. However, the naval attack in February had been a disaster, with the loss of three battleships and three others had been badly damaged and, when military support was brought in, it too had suffered heavy losses - not least, amongst the Anzac troops who were able to establish a bridgehead at what became known as "Anzac Cove". Now British troops were struggling to establish themselves and the costly deadlock was to lead directly to a political crisis in London, the resignation of the First Sea Lord, the Liberal government replaced by a coalition and Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, taking much of the blame.

Private Horne joined 8th battalion which had been at Gallipoli since July as part of 34th Brigade of 11 Division. The battalion had landed at Suvla Bay on August 8th and had suffered heavy casualties during attacks on Turkish trenches and progress had been found to be largely impossible. By the time Herbert arrived, disease - including dysentery, enteric fever and typhoid - was the cause of up to half of all deaths amongst the men. By November bad weather was the cause of even more difficult conditions and some men were even said to have frozen to death. Finally, in December, the peninsula was evacuated to Egypt where the battalion took part in the defence of the Suez Canal during the first half of 1916.8. On 1st July the battalion left Alexandria for the Western Front on the Llandovery Castle, arrived at Marseilles on the 10th, moved to the Somme by train and route march and, by August, had settled down to the routine of trench life10.

Although we have no record of exactly when, it seems that, over the next year, Herbert was transferred between several battalions of the Regiment - in turn to 16th, 20th, 25th and 13th Battalions11 - and, at some point was promoted to Lance Corporal. During 1917, whichever battalion he was attached to, Herbert is likely to have seen action during the Battles of the Scarpe, experienced the horrors of the various phases of the Third Battle of Ypres (widely known as 'Passchendaele'), during which, on 10 August, 13th Battalion was amalgamated with 12th Battalion to become 12/13th Battalion, part of 62nd Brigade of 21st Division, and went on to take part in the Cambrai operations in November/December.

In early March 1918, the battalion was in front-line trenches near Heudecourt. A major attack by the enemy had been expected for some time as enemy positions had been strangely quite during the early days of the month and raiding parties had been carried out during which German prisoners had been taken for interrogation. Then, on 21st March, the German Army launched its Spring Offensive from the Hindenburg Line with the objective of ending the war before American troops and resources could tilt the balance towards the Allies. The objective was to smash through the Allied lines, push the British forces into the sea and to cut off their supply lines by seizing the ports. On this first day, the battalion was attacked heavily after an intense bombardment, its right flank collapsed, the battalion headquarters was overrun and a number of officers were killed or captured. Over the next five days, the battalion fought a rear-guard action and, after taking heavy casualties, reformed as a battalion under 35th Division. over the next few days, it withdrew to the line of the Ancre, defending the village of Ribemont. Finally, on 30th March, the exhausted survivors were able to take a day's rest in Heilby. But, they were back in the trenches the next day - and there was much more to come.12.

During the first ten days of April, the battalion reorganised and took in a new draft of 173 men but the enemy soon took up the attack. On the 16th, after the usual heavy bombardment, a fierce attack again turned the battalion's right flank but was stopped by a defensive manoeuvre but with very heavy casualties - 12 officers and 320 other ranks. Just a few days of rest and reorganization were possible before very heavy shell fire on the 26th brought further heavy casualties.

May opened with another period of relative quite and was spent reorganising and training, But the German Army had not given up on its attempt to break through. On 27th May, it put down a heavy barrage - including gas shells - on the battalion's lines. The subsequent attack was held until the battalion was ordered to withdraw to a new line and, again, to another which held. Casualties were again high and, sadly, this time they included Lance Corporal Horne. As his body was never identified, he is remembered on the Soissons Memorial.

The Soissons Memorial is in the town of Soissons which stands on the left bank of the River Aisne, approximately 100 kilometres north-east of Paris. The memorial commemorates almost 4,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom forces who died during the Battles of the Aisne and the Marne in 1918 and who have no known grave. The memorial was designed by G.H. Holt and V.O. Rees, with sculpture by Eric Kennington. It was unveiled by Sir Alexander Hamilton-Gordon on 22 July 192813.

Lance Corporal Horne was posthumously awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1915 Star14. His Army financial effects of 22 14 10d, were paid to his father, as the sole legatee of his soldier's will, on 11 October 1918. His War Gratuity of 14 was also paid to his father, on 1 December 191915.

Thomas Horne, Herbert's father, continued to live at 17 Wollaton Road, Beeston up to his death in 1924, aged 63. His eldest son, John Thomas, and his family continued to live at 37 Middleton Street, Beeston, with Mabel, his widow staying on there with her married son after her husband's relatively early death in 1935, aged 49. May never married and died in February 1985. aged 90. Harry, who served in World War 1, married Harriett Hannah Elliott and died in Belper, Derbyshire in 1989. Hilda Victoria married Lional Andrew Varney in 1922. Lionel had joined the Royal Navy in 1917 but had been invalided out in 1922 and then worked as a cabinet maker at Ericssons. They lived at 38 Dennis Avenue, Beeston before later moving to 107 Central Avenue, Beeston. Lionel died in August 1941 and Hilda in 1976, aged 7616.

In addition to his entry on the memorial in Beeston Parish Church, Herbert is also remembered on the memorial at Chilwell Road Methodist Church in Beeston.

1The photograph of Soissons Memorial to the "Missing" is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (http://www.cwgc.org).
2His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q3/1891(Ref 7b 187).
3Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 41.
Herbert's siblings were John Thomas (known as Jack, 1886-1935), May (1895-1985), Harry (1897-1989) and Hilda Victoria (1900-1976)
4Cyril Norton Horne was born in Q4/1901 in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part), Ref 7b 231, He died in Basford Registration District in Q4/1902 (Ref 7b 120). The twins, Ellen and Millicent, were also born in Basford Registration in Q1/1904 (Ref 7b 255. They both died in Basford District in Q1/1904 - Refs 7b 119(Ellen) and 7b 120 (Millicent). Millicent died in Basford Registration District in Q4/1904 (Ref 7b 108) - age 37.
5John Thomas Horn married Mabel Ann Ward in Q1/1908 in Nottingham Registration District. By 1911 they were living at 37 Middleton Street, Beeston, Notts with their three-year-old son Leslie.
6Beeston, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20432, RD429, SD3, ED7, Schedule 140.
7Radford, Nottingham, 1911 Census, Piece 20622, RD430, S4, ED30, Schedule 98. 62 Hartley Road, where Henry & Eliza operated a grocery shop.
8As his Army Service Record has not survived, his attestation date has been calculated based on the amount of his War Gratuity. His early attachment 8th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers is from his entry in the Medal Rolls.
9His date of arrival that theatre of war is recorded as 20 September 1915 on his Medal Card.
10This summary account of 8th Battalion's deployment in 1915 and 1916 is based on its War Diary and a typewritten account which is appended to it,
11Herbert's attachment to these various battalion is recorded in his entry in the Medal Rolls.
12This summary account of 12/13th Battalion's deployment in March to May 1918 is based on its War Diary.
13The description of the Soissons Memorial to the "Missing" is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (http://www.cwgc.org).
14Details from Herbert's Medal Card and the Medal Rolls - available on ancestry.com.
15Details from "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
16These family details have been gathered from standard genealogical sources.

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