In the late summer of 1883, Joseph Nettleton, a tailor, married Mary Beswick in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport. Herbert is thought to have been their only child. The family lived at "Rose Bank" in Brinnington for many years. Joseph was in partnership with a Mr Beswick and they owned a tailors' shop on Petersgate.
Herbert worked locally as a solicitor's clerk and, in 1912, married his fiancée, Martha Ann Wright. The ceremony was at St Alban's Church and they set up home at 27 Dona Street (after the War, Martha was living at 59 Islington Road).
Herbert joined the army at Stockport and his service number suggests this was probably towards the end of 1915. The Third Battle of Ypres is often known as Passchendaele after the village on top of the ridge that was always the ultimate objective. The advance started on 31 July 1917 and immediately, and literally, became bogged down. The following weeks were nothing more than a hard dangerous slog up the slope with thousand upon thousand of casualties on both sides. The village was finally taken on 6 November.
After a period in reserve, Herbert and his mates moved towards the front line on the 27th, They were to hold a section of the new front line right on the apex of the salient near the actual village. There was still no proper trench system and "A" and "C" Companies deployed into shellholes in and around the debris of the village buildings. "B" Company was a little way to the rear at Crest Farm with "D" a little way behind them in reserve. Crest Farm was the highest point on the ridge - a strategic viewpoint in the flat Belgian landscape and it was always presumed that the Germans would try to recapture it. Although there was no infantry attack, the positions around the Farm and village were under almost constant artillery attack by the Germans. "C" Company's commander, Captain Moody, later wrote in the Regimental History that, at times, the ferocity of the shelling was like the hurricane bombardment prior to an attack. Herbert was one of those killed.