Herbert NORTHROP M.M.
Rank: Private
Number: 13029
Unit: 1/6th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 14 October 1918
Age: 28
Cemetery: Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Zonnebke, Belgium

Herbert's father, Joseph, was born in Chapel-en-le-Frith and probably, as an adult, moved to Yorkshire to work. There, he married Edith and they set about having a large family. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family had been living in the Stockport area for about 5 or 6 years. Joseph, then aged, 38 , was working as a "plush batter", a job which was probably in the local hatmaking industry. Most of his children had been born in Yorkshire. Lilian (then 14), Levi (13) and Herbert (11) had been born in Manningham. Elsie (9) and George (7) were born in Netherton. But Arthur (5), William (2) and Joseph (10 months) had all been born since they moved to Stockport.

The family home was at Bury Street, Heaton Norris. The family worshipped at Hanover Church and the children also attended the church's Sunday School. Herbert may not have been at home at the time of the Great War. Between June and August 1909, he had married Mary Jane Walkington at Keighley (from where his mother originated) and they may have set up home on their own.

Herbert's service number confirms that he enlisted in September 1914, although not into the local 6th Territorial Battalion. His entry in the 25th Division's list of medal honours confirms he joined the 11th Battalion and went overseas in September 1915. He was serving with them at the Battle of Messines, in June 1917, when for a now unknown act of bravery, he was awarded the Military Medal. An account of the Battalion's fighting that day is here. A week later, he had his first home leave in two years

The 11th Battalion was disbanded in August 1918 and the men re-assigned to different units and this is almost certainly when Herbert became part of the 6th Battalion. On 14 October, they were at Wervicq, south of the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper) and just across the border into France. The Battalion's War Diary records "Battalion in support preparing for operations. Considerable hostile artillery activity. 1 O.R. killed". Herbert was that Other Rank, but he had not been killed by shellfire. His Company Commander later wrote "He was killed by a sniper and suffered no pain. His last words were "Remember me to my dear wife". He was buried in a nice grave and a cross of stones marks the spot". The officer was probably trying to offer comfort by suggesting that Herbert had had time for his final words.

At the time of his death, Herbert's brother Arthur (known as Harry) was serving with the Machine Gun Corps. George (known as Ted) was with the Royal Field Artillery and William was training for the artillery. All three are believed to have survived the War's final month.

Zantvoorde Cemetery was not created until after the end of the war. Many of the very small front-line burial areas were closed then and the bodies moved to larger "concentration" cemeteries and this is probably what happened to Herbert's remains.

   
           
   
     
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