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Remembered Today:

Capt Hubert Kingsley MEEK KRRC


Perth Digger
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I'd appreciate some help in finding which of the battalions Meek (MA Sydney 1912) was in when he was killed. He was in the 14th Bn, but that was reduced or amalgamated just before he died. He was obviously transferred, but as there were four (I think) KRRC bns involved in operations on 15 September, I'm having difficulty finding the right one.

Thank you.

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Perth Digger,

Here's Meek's obituary from the 1916 KRRC Chronicle:

Lieut. Hubert Kingsley Meek

Hubert Meek was in Russia when the War commenced. Returning to England, he was gazetted to the Regiment in November, 1914. Whilst attached to the King's Own Scottish Borderers he was wounded in Gallipoli in July, 1915, and lost the sight of one eye. A year later he proceeded to France.

On September 15th, 1916, he was twice wounded, having first received a painful wound in the chest. Being the only officer left alive with his Company, he refused to leave it, but struggled on for some hours, when he received another wound which rendered him unconscious, and from which he died - a hero's death, at the age of 29.

He was the fourth son of the Rev. and Mrs. B.J. Meek, of Sydney, N.S.W.

In the Officers' Casualty List in the same volume, he is listed as Killed in Action with 9th Battalion, KRRC.

Cheers,

Mark

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Here's the relevant section from the 9th Battalion War Record in the 1916 KRRC Chronicle:

The Operation on September 15th, 1916.

THE CAPTURE OF GUEUDECOURT.

At 4.30 a.m. the Battalion moved in column of route from Pommiers Redoubt to Montauban Alley, and thence, two hours later, to York Alley and Check Line, being behind the 9th Rifle Brigade and having the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry on our right.

Our objective was to gain ground north-east of Gird Support, and then to dig in. We advanced in four lines of columns of platoons, with roughly 100 yards between them. A first line was formed by the two Vickers machine guns, two Stokes mortars, and the Headquarters of the Battalion.

At 7.15 a.m. the direction of our advance was north-east, having Waterlot Farm on the right and Delville Wood on the left; as we swung round the north-east corner of the latter locality we expected to come under hostile shell fire, but none was encountered. A machine gun, however, caused considerable casualties amongst the leading Companies, A and B, and also Battalion Headquarters in rear. Before it was disposed of by the Lewis gunners and some bombers of the 9th Rifle Brigade, we had lost our Colonel, Lieut.-Colonel E. W. Benson, killed, and the following wounded:- Captain E. D. Lacey (Adjutant), Captain H. Dowson, Lieuts. C. R. Hollway and A. Cook, and 2nd Lieuts. W. S. M. Brady, R. B. Van Praagh, and W. S. Glegg. All the Battalion signallers were also knocked out, so that thus early in the affair the Battalion was left with very few officers.

However, we were spared any hostile shelling, and, having removed the obstruction, we decided to push on to our objective.

8.30 a.m.

We passed through Switch Trench, and the three leading Companies suffered few casualties, as they were protected in a hollow, and the heavy shelling which caught D Company in rear passed over them. We next passed over Gap Trench, which was held by the 41st Infantry Brigade, and pressed forward on the heels of the 9th Rifle Brigade .

9 a.m.

After passing Gap Trench, Sergeant Enderfield, who was in command of the leading line, saw two German field guns firing towards Flers from the sunken road. Without a moment's hesitation he collected a small party, rushed the guns, and killed most of the gunners; those who escaped they chased down the sunken road, and some of the party actually entered Gird Trench at this time, but returned afterwards to the captured guns. Meanwhile, the 9th Rifle Brigade had stopped, and were forming a line more or less parallel to Gird Trench, and although we were in touch with the 5th O.B.L.I. on our left, our right was in the air.

It then appeared that the 9th Rifle Brigade were going to attack Gird Trench under our barrage at the time appointed according to programme, so he was informed that we would support him.

11.20a.m.

The expected barrage was not forthcoming, so the gallant men of the Rifle Brigade attacked Gird Trench "on their own," came under heavy machine-gun fire, and gloriously failed.

Our right was still in the air, and without a barrage a further advance against Gird Trench was not likely to be successful, more especially as no trench mortars were near to help.

We accordingly dug in with our left connected up with the 5th O.B.L.I., and our right rested on Gas Alley. A few Guardsmen came up about noon and occupied Gas Alley, thus forming a defensive flank on our exposed right. The Guardsmen had no idea where their Battalions were, but it did not worry them as long as they could join the fight.

During the afternoon the Germans continued to mass troops on our immediate front, who apparently came from Le Transloy; the 5th O.B.L.I. were similarly threatened from their front near the north-east corner of Flers.

As the afternoon wore on the Irish Guards came up on our right into Gap Trench, and sent picquets forward. Nothing happened all the afternoon, but as dusk came on the enemy plucked up courage and made a tentative advance, which was at once thrown back, and the night passed quietly. The Somerset

Light Infantry relieved us at 4.30 a.m. the next morning, and we reached Montauban Alley at 7.30 a.m. on the 16th.

Sept. 16th

The Battalion arrived back at Montauban Alley about 5 a.m., on the 16th, where it remained all day in support of the 43rd Brigade, who made an unsuccessful attack on Gird Trench in front of Gueudecourt during the course of the afternoon.

The day was spent in trying to reorganise the Battalion, as the casualties in officers and N.C.O.'s had been very heavy. Lieut.-Colonel E. W. Benson and Lieut. H. K. Meek had been killed, while Captain H. Dowson, Captain C. D. Lacey, Lieuts. A.Cook and C. R. Holloway, and 2nd Lieuts. W. S. M. Brady, W. S. Glegg, R. Singlehurst, R. T. Ridley, and R. B. Van Praagh had been wounded. Total casualties being :-officers 11, N.C.O.'s and men 231. On the death of Lieut.-Colonel Benson Major H.C.M. Porter took over command of the Battalion.

Sept. 17th

At midnight, on the 16th-17th, the Battalion was relieved in Montauban Alley. During the relief everyone's eyes were streaming with water, owing to some lachrymatory shells which the Germans were sending over. However, by 3.30 a.m. the Battalion arrived back in their old camp near Becordel, where they spent the remainder of the night. The following day they moved on again to a Camp just south of the Albert-Amiens Road, and a mile to the north of Buire. Here the Battalion remained till the 22nd, reorganising the Companies, and carrying out training as far as possible. The weather was most unpropitious, and after two days' heavy rain the camp became a slough of despond.

Cheers,

Mark

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Perth Digger,

9/KRRC took part in the attack on Guedecourt with 9th Rifle Brigade (see the War Record extract I transcribed above).

You may find interesting these topics on Lt Evelyn Southwell of 9/RB who died on the same day as Hubert (which is incidentally my birthday!).

Andy's Topic on this man and his great friend, Malcolm White:

Two Men - One Memorial, The Story of two Shrewsbury Schoolteachers

and here's my Topic on his memorial in Worcester Cathedral:

Lt EHL Southwell, 9th Rifle Brigade, Killed 15 Sep 1916 at The Somme

Southwell was also the son of a minister BTW.

Cheers,

Mark

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Dear Mark

A belated thank you for the information on Meek and on Southwell (I've read Two Men; very interesting). I neglected to check for any replies, thinking I'd get an email alert. But I must have forgotten to switch it on!

Thanks again.

Mike

Perth Digger,

9/KRRC took part in the attack on Guedecourt with 9th Rifle Brigade (see the War Record extract I transcribed above).

You may find interesting these topics on Lt Evelyn Southwell of 9/RB who died on the same day as Hubert (which is incidentally my birthday!).

Andy's Topic on this man and his great friend, Malcolm White:

Two Men - One Memorial, The Story of two Shrewsbury Schoolteachers

and here's my Topic on his memorial in Worcester Cathedral:

Lt EHL Southwell, 9th Rifle Brigade, Killed 15 Sep 1916 at The Somme

Southwell was also the son of a minister BTW.

Cheers,

Mark

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... He was in the 14th Bn, but that was reduced or amalgamated just before he died ...

Perth Digger,

I neglected to mention earlier that 14th Battalion was one of the Reserve battalions based at Shoreham in England. It had originally been raised at Sheerness in autumn 1914 as a Service Battalion but was converted to a Reserve (draft-finding) battalion in April 1915. It never went overseas.

Meek was probably only in 14/KRRC while he was awaiting his posting to one of the fighting battalions at the Front.

Cheers,

Mark

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