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War Memorials

In Memory of
Lance Corporal 28068
17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Killed in Action on Sunday, 3th September 1916
Age 25

Buried. Grave I B 32
Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Ancre British Cemetery

Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, France1

Frederick Hunt was born in Beeston, Notts in 1890 2, the sixth child, third son of Edward (b. 1852, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. d. 1911) and Mary Ann Hunt (b. 1857, Lowdham, Notts née Hallam). In 1901 the family, including Frederick and their other four youngest children, was living at 45 Gladstone Street, Beeston, Notts with Edward working as a shawl maker3. By 1911, Edward was a widower and was living with Frederick and two other unmarried working children at 29 Newton Street, Notts. Frederick was then working as a Leivers lace threader. Edward was still working in the shawl trade but died later that year4.

As Frederick's Army Service Record has not survived, we do not have a precise record of when he enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters, but it likely to have been around August 1915, becoming part of 17th (Service) Battalion (Welbeck Rangers), formed at Nottingham on 1 June 1915 by the Mayor and a Recruiting Committee. In October of that year, it moved to Aldershot and came under the orders of 117th Brigade, 39th Division, After a further move, to Witley Camp, south of Godalming in Surrey, where training continued, the Battalion landed at Le Havre, France on 7 March 19165.

Throughout the remainder of March and most of April, the battalion undertook realistic training in trench warfare, even taking considerable casualties in the process. By 24th April it was in the trenches at Le Touret and was subjected to a gas attack on the 28th. Routine trench work continued at Festubert, Hingette, Gorre, Givenchy, Ferme du Roi and elsewhere during the whole of May and June, during which some casualties were taken. On July 3/4th, men of the battalion carried out a planned raid on the German trenches which generally achieved its objectives, despite strong opposition, with some casualties. Similar raids against the enemy were made throughout July and August following which individual officers and men were awarded awards for their gallantry. On 3 September the battalion, comprising 19 officers, 1 medical officer and 650 other ranks, took part in a major attack on the village of Beaumont-Hamel. The attack was launched at 5.10am under an artillery barrage with one company able to occupy the first line of the enemy trenches. However, the second line was strongly held by the enemy with machine guns and casualties were heavy. Despite reinforcements, attempts to penetrate the enemy's second line defences were blocked by artillery and machine gun fire and, at 3pm, the men were ordered to withdraw to their trenches. At 7.20pm the battalion withdrew to a hillside at Mailly Wood for the night, Casualties had been high with 59 killed, 221 missing and 156 wounded6. Amongst those killed was Lance-Corporal Hunt.

Ancre British Cemetery, where Lance Corporal Hunt is now buried, is about 2kms south of the village of Beaumont-Hamel, on the D50 between Albert and Achiet-le-Grand. It was created in the spring of 1917 after the German withdrawal from the area and clearance of the battlefield became possible. At that time, the cemetery contained 517 burials but this grew to 2540 Commonwealth casualties, buried or commemorated - of which 1,335, are unidentified - after the Armistice when burials from smaller cemeteries in the area were consolidated. This included burials from Sherwood Cemetery which had contained the graves of 176 officers and men from the United Kingdom, including men of the 17th Sherwood Foresters. It is likely that Lance Corporal Hunt had been buried originally at Sherwood Cemetery. The majority of those buried in the cemetery died on 1 July, 3 September or 13 November 19167.

Lance Corporal Hunt was posthumously awarded the British and Victory Medals8. With both his parents already deceased, his remaining financial effects, totaling 7 2 9d, were distributed to his surviving siblings, Henry, John, Annie, Florence and Elsie, on 16 November 1917, His war gratuity of 4 was paid to Henry on 25 November 19199.

1The photograph of Ancre British Cemetery is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Basford was part) in Q1/1890 (Ref 7b 200 or 209)
Frederick's siblings included Henry (b. c1875), Ellen (b. c1878), Annie (b. c1880), Florence (b. c1882), John (b. c1886 and Elsie (b. c1897)
3Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 71
4Ratcliffe-on-Soar, 1911 Census, Piece 20804 RD434 SD1 ED10 Schedule 71. Edward's death was registered in Basford Registration District in Q3/1911 (Ref 7b 268).
5Details of the battalion structure and movements are from www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/sherwood-foresters-nottinghamshire-derbyshire-regiment
Frederick's enlistment date has been estimated based on the amount of War Gratuity that was granted.
6This account of battalion movements and the attack are based on the Battalion's war diary - available on ancestry.com.
7This description of Ancre British Cemetery is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
8Details from his Medal Card and his entry in the Medal Roll, available on ancestry.com.
9Details of the payments are from the "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.

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