Herbert Burrows GRIFFITH (GRIFFITHS on mem)
Rank: Private
Number: 117892
Unit: 38th Battalion MACHINE GUN CORPS
Date of Death: 21 March 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

Herbert was born in Manchester but the family had moved to 4 Hythe Road, Cheadle Heath some years before the Great War. He had been educated at Stockport Technical School and had then served an apprenticeship with Moults Ltd, Princes Street, Stockport.

He enlisted in 1917. This will have been as a conscript when he became 18 and he was assigned to the Norfolk Regiment for training purposes (service number 32834). His medal entitlement records at the national Archives makes no mention of this, confirming that he didn't serve abroad with the Norfolks. He was, no doubt, transferred to the machine gunners when he had finished training.

He was probably assigned to one of the Machine Gun Companies of the Corps which, at the beginning of March 1918, were amalgamated to form the 38th Battalion. On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched an overwhelmingly strong attack on the British lines along a wide front. Within hours, the front line had been overcome and the Tommies were undertaking a "fighting retreat". In the chaos, it is not surprising that the Battalion's War Diary contains few details of the day. Herbert was originally posted as being "missing". It was not until April 1919 that the War Office made an official presumption that he must have died. It is not known what happened to him. It's possible that he took the full force of a shell explosion and was, literally, blown to bits. It may be that he had been killed and was buried by the advancing Germans who would not have been overly interested in recording each man's details. His body was never found and identified.

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