Harry HIBBERT
Rank: Private
Number: 10509
Unit: 2nd Battalion YORKSHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 15 June 1915
Age: 19
Cemetery: Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Joseph Hibbert and Sarah Timperley married in a civil ceremony in the March quarter of 1895. The following year Harry was born and, in 1898, they had a daughter who they called Ada. Over the years, they would have another 5 children but their names are not known. The family worshipped at Romiley's Wesleyan Church and Harry had attended the Sunday School there. He had also been a member of the Boys Brigade.

Joseph was a clog maker, running his business from the family home at 44 Stockport Road. When Harry left school he joined his father to learn the trade. However, a month before War was declared in August 1914, Harry joined the army as a regular soldier. The 2nd Yorkshires were in Guernsey but returned to the UK on the 28 August and left again on 7 October for Belgium. There was no chance for Harry to have any leave before they left.

On 14 June 1915, the Battalion took over trenches near Givenchy from a Battalion of Scots Guards, ready for an attack, the next day, on German positions near the French village of Festubert. "A" and "B" Companies would be in the first wave, followed by "C" and "D". The Regimental History records an account from one of the soldiers :-

"A few minutes before six, everything was read, the men in grand form and full of confidence and only waiting for the signal to jump over the trenches and rush across the 150 yards to the first German trench. As soon as our heavy bombardment commenced, the Germans replied very violently, aiming especially along our parapet and at two minutes to six, their machine gun and rifle fire commenced."

At six, a mine was exploded under the German trench and the men "went over the top".

But our hopes of getting across were stopped. The Germans were able to line their trenches and simply stand up and shoot, for no covering fire could be brought to bear on them."

A few men managed to get in the German trench where they drove out or killed the defenders. They held out there until 10pm, when they were able to get back to the British line under cover of darkness. Apart from these few, the rest had been pinned down in No man's land - dead wounded or unable to move until dusk.

Afterwards the Commanding Officer issued a battalion order "The CO wishes to congratulate the men of the Battalion....for the most gallant way they carried out the attack and he assures them that it was no fault of theirs that the attack failed."

Harry was just one of 118 men who had been killed. Few have a known grave.

   
           
   
     
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