Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Details of Grandfather

Nick Hubberstey

Recommended Posts

Dear Mick,

I was delighted to discover the existence of this database when logging onto the forum yesterday - I signed up directly!

In recent months my brother and I have been researching the war records of my Grandfather and Uncle. As far as we are aware, both enlisted into the Army in London during August 1914 and were posted to 7th Bn the Buffs. Unusual, since they were born and raised in Lancashire.

Their names were Robert and James Hubberstey. Both survived the war, Robert being awarded a MM and ending his service commissioned into the KSLI. From his paybook, it would also appear that Robert served initially in B Company (Capt Kenchington?) and then at HQ 55 Bde during the Somme period, before being wounded at (we think) Thiepval.

We would be interested in any additional information you might have.

Best Regards,

Nick H.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Nick.

James Hubberstey seems to have quite an extensive set of Service Records on the Ancestry website (and also by definition at the National Archives).

James Hubberstey, age 19 at enlistment, born abt 1895, born at Myerscough, Lancashire, enlisted in 1914, 6 pages of records

James Hubberstey, age 19 at enlistment, born abt 1895, born at Myerscough, Lancashire, enlisted in 1914, 31 pages of records

As an officer, Robert Hubberstey's service papers will not yet be online but are held at the National Archives in paper format.

The reference for his papers will be:

WO 374/35244 HUBBERSTEY, 2/Lieut R 1914-1919


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like both James and Robert were in the 7th Buffs in 55th Brigade of 18th Division:

Robert's medal card:




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert's Military Medal was Gazetted in the London Gazette of 21-12-1916

This is consistent with 18th Division awards at Thiepval:

1659 L./C. (Actg. Sjt.) R. Hubberstey, E. Kent R.


His Commission appears in the London gazette of 13-8-1918

War Office,

13th August, 1918.


The undermentioned, from Officer Cadet Units, to be 2nd Lts.: —


14th Aug. 1918.

Shrops. L.I.—

Robert Hubberstey, M.M.

Arthur Charles Nottage.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

James' Medal Card - a bit less busy!


Looks like they enlisted together, judging by the closeness of the numbers... The date appears to have been the 9th September 1914 at Blackpool. James was an ironmonger and gave his age as 19 years and 20 days. He seems to have served through the battles on the Somme in 1916 (after suffering from a septic finger whilst on leave in early 1916 - he seems to have been orderly (batman) to Rev. F Aveling* of 55th Infantry Brigade HQ in France before he went on leave), had a bout of trench fever in Spring 1917 missing a couple of the smaller battles of the 18th Division, rejoined in June 1917 in time for 3rd Ypres, and was wounded on 13th (possibly 15th) October 1917, rejoining again on 8-1-1918 only to be wounded a second time on 22-3-1918. He was evacuated to England on 30-3-1918 where he spent the rest of the war.

* Rev. Francis Aveling, M.C., Chaplain to the Forces, 3rd Class (equiv. to Major), Royal Army Chaplains Dept., embarked to France 27-7-1915, of Mission House, Bermondsey Park NW6 in early 1920s. Mentioned in Despatches, December 1917 and July 1919, and awarded the Military Cross in the King's Birthday Honours of 3rd June 1918. After the war Francis Aveling seems to have ceased being a Catholic Priest and became a physcologist and professor at Kings College, London.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Many thanks for a full and prompt response, which already adds some new light, especially about James.

It now appears that both brothers served in HQ 55 Bde during Spring/Summer 1916 - I wonder if Robert replaced James as batman to the Rev Aveling?

The other possibility is that he served as a runner - although his paybook has him paid by HQ 55 Bde from Feb-Oct 1916, I know he was physically present at the Trones Wood battle and later at Thiepval.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't suppose for a minute you haven't seen this page on Robert Hubberstey:


They appear to be mistaken about the MM, as it was Gazetted long before 3rd Ypres.

Most of the time a man's "Other Ranks" record is appnded to his officers file, so it would be well worth a look at it. These sort of records will only very rarely give any sort of detail on the military medal.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Yes, I have seen it - in fact it was our summary based on the facts (we thought) we had at the time! I now have enough info from this site to do more research in a number of areas:

- Follow up National Archive info on James (digital) and Robert (hard copy).

- Get access to Robert Cude's full diary - like Robert and James, he was detached from 7th Buffs to HQ 55 Bde in Spring 1916 so would almost certainly have known them - there may be references to them there.

Many thanks again,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Francis Arthur Powell AVELING, PhD (Louvain) D.Sc. (London) D.D. (Rome) Fellow of King's College London, Professor of Pyschology in the University of London King's College, late assistant Professor of Pyschology, University of London College.

Chaplain, mentioned in despatches. Military Cross, Commander of the order of Christ.

Born 28th December 1875 - St Catherines Ontario, Canada

Married 1925 - Ethel Mary daughter of Stephen Good Dancy of Steyning, Sussex.

Died 6th March 1941

Educated Bishop Ridley College, McGill University, Montreal, Keble College, Oxford, Canadian College, Rome, University of Louvain, University College, London.

His reseach was into the Higher Thought processes.


The Immortality Of The Soul |1905]

Science And Faith |1906]

The God Of Philosophy |1906]

The Philosophers Of The Smoking Room |1907]

Arnoul, The Englishman (w A B SHARP) [f|1908]

The Spectrum Of Truth (w Rev A B SHARPE) [n|1908]

On The Consciousness Of The Universal And The Individual |1912]

Conformations Expérimentales D'Une Théorie..Cognitifs Fr-1913]


Directing Mental Energy

The Psychological Approach To Reality

Persononality And Will

An Introduction To Psychology


Westminster Lectures (ed)

Expository Essays In Christian Philosophy (ed)

Contemporary Library Of Psychology (ed)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 years later...

Just returning to this topic after many years and more research, including Robert Cude's Diary, the XIII Corps, 18 Division and 7th Buffs History. I have also been greatly assisted by my Grandfather's paybook (which lists his paying officers from July 1915 to November 2016 (when the book closes on his promotion to Sergeant) and some anecdotes about Grandad given me many years ago by my father (who himself died in 1980). I have also been to Kew and studied his record.


As such I've been able to work out his career in 7th Buffs as follows (my remaining questions are in red):

  • Robert Hubberstey went to France with the Main Body in July 1915 - served in B Company (most pay entries are by Capt Kenchington, occasionally 2Lt Goss)
  • Would being paid by Kenchington suggest he was in Company HQ, or was the entire Company paid by the OC in WW1?
  • Left B Company in December 1915 (probably as a party of 30 men recorded as being seconded to Brigade that month in the 7th Buffs War Diary)
  • For one month was recorded as being paid by a RE Officer (signature lengthy and indistinct, but looks like it could be Lt Engleheart-Knight of 92 Field Company)
  • What would Grandad be most likely to be doing seconded to a Fd Coy RE? Worth noting that he was well-educated and run the family ironmonger business pre-war.
  • From Late January was promoted Lance-Corporal (unpaid) and from that point until the paybook ends in Nov 16 paid predominantly by Capt JRM Mitchell of 55 Bde.
  • This is my largest knowledge gap, as I am uncertain what posts an unpaid LCpl would be doing in the Bde HQ, resulting in him being paid by the Bde COS - as he spent the entire Somme period here, it is of great interest.
  • Grandad was in HQ 55 Bde on the first day of the Somme and was present at Trones Wood (his most traumatic war memory).
  • Interestingly, a photograph exists showing men of the Surreys and Buffs sheltering in Montauban - Mametz road on the afternoon of 1 July (Lts Haggard (wounded) and Heaton are both in shot, giving a fairly exact time and place) - but just to Heaton's left is large man looking directly at the photographer and talking in his direction - he has been labelled in some publications as an unknown officer - but closer examination suggests that he is a LCpl (a brassard and single stripe appear to be visible on his right arm) and he bears more than a passing resemblance to Grandad (although the photo is indistinct).
  • Image result for 7th Buffs Somme
  • This has led me to consider whether Grandad may have been a Brigade Runner - this could explain both the paybook and his presence in the photograph (did he indeed bring the photographer to that spot, hence being centre of the shot?). At this point in the day (around 1500) the Montauban-Mametz road was the furthest point of advance and would have been the obvious place for the Brigade staff to send a high-priority runner (who would have sought out the most senior officer present). For now, it is just an interesting conjecture.
  • Counter to this, Grandad is not mentioned in Robert Cude's diary (another 7th Buffs runner with Bde HQ, although Cude comes across as something of a "strategic Corporal", who was more interested in the conduct of operations and the actions of his officers than with his comrades, who only seem to get a mention when killed).
  • If Grandad was not a runner, what other roles may he have been fulfilling with HQ 55 Bde on the Somme?
  • Whilst there is little more detail on what he did over the Summer, in a busy month (November 1916), Robert is promoted substantive LCpl, decorated with the MM and promoted almost immediately to substantive Serjeant. Unfortunately, whilst the MM was gazetted, there is no mention in the Battalion diary of what he won it for. My Dad told a story that he received a citation from General Maxse for keeping a supply point open under constant fire for five days, but this is inconsistent with his being a runner (or is it?). Since there's no mention of an MiD on his medal card, I think it possible that this and the MM action are one and the same.
  • Again, someone familiar with the structure of a Bde HQ in WW1 may be able to stitch together Robert's most likely role with Brigade HQ.
  • After promotion, I'm not 100% certain what Robert did next, but there is a fortunate co-incidence in his record and another of Dad's anecdotes.Grandad was wounded by shrapnel in the bum in early May 1917 (the eve of the Battle of Arras). Dad tells the story that shortly after a period of shelling Grandad (on horseback) was passing a column of troops, when several soldiers shouted out that his horse was covered in blood - on trying to dismount and check where it was hurt, he discovered that the wound was his! Must have been fairly serious, as it took him three month to convalesce. From this I strongly suspect that (unless he remained with the Brigade HQ), he returned to 7th Buffs as Transport Sergeant (the only Sergeant to be mounted, as far as I can make out from research into manuals of the time). It would also fit with the earlier award being for gallantry whilst in a logistic role. Another twist in this tale - following his wounding, he was originally listed as "missing believed killed" and a letter of condolence sent to his sister in Blackpool! This entry (crossed out) is still on his record - again, it suggests that his role took him away from direct contact with the Battalion.
  • What roles within an infantry battalion/brigade would require a SNCO to be mounted - have I missed some out?
  • On return to duty, Robert seems to have remained with 7th Buffs until he left them in November 1917 for the purposes of Commissioning - that's another story, with a couple of small mysteries, but I'll leave it there for now!

Any additional light that you can shed on the questions above, or anything further that may be of help would be gratefully received...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...