Richard Henry HURST
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 12th Battalion NORFOLK REGIMENT
Date of Death: 29 September 1918
Age: 30
Cemetery: Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium

As with many men who served as officers during the War, Richard came from a successful middle class family. His father, also called Richard, was a merchant and he would later work as a travelling salesman for local wholesale confectioners, Henry Faulder & Co, 83 St Petersgate.

Richard and Hannah Hurst had married in Manchester around 1870 and their first child, Alice, was born there soon after. In about 1873, they moved to Heaton Mersey and Jessie was born there. Born on 2 March 1888, Richard was some 14 years younger than Jessie and was, clearly, a late addition to the family. He was educated at Portwood High School and Stockport Technical School.

Before he enlisted, Richard was living at “Stressa”, Mile End Road, Stockport with his wife Daisy. She was always known as Daisy but her full maiden name was Isabel Read. The couple had married in the South Manchester area in the late spring of 1914. He continued to worship at St Martin’s Church near his family home. He joined the army on 10 December 1915 but was not mobilised until 6 January 1917. He had been selected to undertake officer training immediately and he received his commission on 25 September.

He had expressed a preference to join the Cheshire Regiment but 2nd Lieutenant Hurst was assigned to the 9th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment and briefly served overseas with them before being attached to the 12th Norfolks. The Battalion had been formed in Egypt only at the beginning of 1917 from troops previously serving with then disbanded Norfolk Yeomanry – a Territorial cavalry unit.

For most of September 1918, the Battalion was in reserve refitting and undergoing training but on the 28th, they were ordered forward to take up a position ready to attack on the 30th. They arrived at the assembly point called Bakery Post not too far from the village of Neuve Eglise, where they deployed around dawn. In the evening, they formed up in the trenches known as Ultimo Avenue and St Ives Trench and attacked at 4am on the 30th. By then Richard is understood to be already dead. There is no specific mention of him in the Battalion’s War Diary held at the National Archives but he had, presumably, become a victim of German shelling or a sniper.

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