It is difficult to imagine the grief that parents must experience if they lost a son in the War. It is all but impossible to imagine losing two. But, in June 1917, Charles and Fanny Reeves had to come to terms with the loss of their second son, also called Charles. Exactly four months later, Herbert would also be killed in action.
Herbert was born in south Manchester in the late spring of 1896. By the following year, when Charles was born, the family had moved to Liverpool, no doubt in connection with Mr Reeves' work as a railway wagon examiner. In 1901, when a national census was taken, they were living at 3 Ruby Street in the Toxteth district. The family had a new addition - Arthur was just 10 months old.
At some point, they moved to Stockport and took up residence at 28 Lark Hill Road. Before he enlisted into the army, Herbert had been working for a local firm of electrical engineers - W A Shaw & Co, Prince's Street. He had not been an early volunteer for the army and his service number was not issued prior to the beginning of 1917. The 2/7th Battalion went overseas in the middle of March of that year.
On 1 October, Herbert and his comrades were in reserve camp near the Channel coast. They were preparing for a move to Eecke but, on the 4th, the orders were changed and the Battalion moved by bus to Caestre and then by train to Brandhoek (near the Belgian town of Ypres). They marched to the town and bivouacked overnight prior to taking over a section of the front line from Australian troops. This was near a position known as Beecham Dugout on the Passchendale Ridge.
The relief was completed by 1pm on the 6th, even though an enemy attack was underway. The Battalion's War Diary records that they were shelled throughout the day and the intensity increased at night. At 5pm on the 5th, Battalion Headquarters was blown up by the German shelling and, half an hour later, another enemy attack was delivered. The attack was driven off but Herbert was one of seven members of the Battalion who had been killed.