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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

25437 Pte H Silsby / Sgt D Hepperman 6 Northants

Young pretender

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First timer here and overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and information posted here. I was intrigued by the posts on the 6th Northants and wondered if anyone could shed light on the above two people. Pte H Silsby was my wife's paternal grandfather and served in 6th Northants. My wife has a letter handwritten by Sergeant D Hepperman, B Company, 6 Northants, dated 13 May 1917, in which he writes that Pte Silsby was wounded by a machine gun bullet in the left thigh on the evening of 3rd May and the Sergeant bandaged the wound before receiving orders to move position. Pte Silsby was left and nothing more was heard from him that we have any knowledge of.

We would be very grateful if anyone could shine any light on his fate. We believe from Sgt Hepperman's letter that he may have been listed as wounded & missing.

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Initials: H E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Northamptonshire Regiment

Unit Text: 6th Bn.

Age: 28

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Service No: 25437

Additional information: Husband of Annie Lewis (formerly Silsby), of 16, Conquest Rd., Bedford.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 7.


SDGW has him KIA though Died of Wounds is more likely from your description -

Name: Harry Edgar Silsby

Birth Place: Luton, Beds

Death Date: 3 May 1917

Enlistment Location: Luton

Rank: Private

Regiment: Northamptonshire Regiment

Battalion: 6th Battalion

Number: 25437

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders


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Thank you so much for the information John and the speed wit.h which you have been able to provide it. I am most grateful.


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I believe that Harry Silsby was a Derby Scheme volunteer in November/December 1915 who was called up on 29th May 1916. He is part of a large group of men called up at the same time, all in their late 20s and early 30s and married. Those who joined on this date did not appeal their call-up.

It is not possible to work out exactly when these men went overseas, but the majority of men with numbers similar to Harry's went overseas on 14th September 1916 and joined the 6th Battalion just after the battle of Thiepval that took place on 26th September 1916. These men would have seen action at Boom Ravine (just south of Petit Miraumont) on 17th February 1917 and during a one battalion reconnaisence attack on the new German Hindenburg Line at Croisilles on 20th March 1917. The attack at Cherisy on 3rd May 1917 was a full scale attack on the Hindenburg Line. The 6th Northamptons were actually sent into the attack in the afternoon of the 3rd, the attack in the morning having failed. The battalion's role was two-fold - to help extricate the attackers stranded in No Man's Land from the morning attack, and to capture further ground. Though the 1st objective was partially succesful, the 2nd attack was not.

I am afraid that I can't add anything more on a personal level regarding Harry Silsby's death.

Have you looked at Forum topics regarding the 54th Brigade attack at Cherisy?



"Sergeant Hepperman" is probably 8363 Sgt. Daniel James (Valentine) Heffernan / Hefferman of Tilbury. He enlisted in late 1906/early 1907 and served in India with the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment from approx. 1908/1909 until February 1911. He had probably spent a few months on Reserve (he married at Devonport in 1914 after the Northamptonshire Regiment had moved on from there) before being recalled to the Regiment on the outbreak of war. He embarked to France in August 1914 as a Private with the original men of the 1st Battalion and was wounded in autumn of 1914 (probably in September or October). Returning to France he was gassed at Loos with the 1st Battalion (now as a Lance-Corporal). Back in France again after that he was once more wounded circa June 1916, now as an acting Corporal (battalion unknown). A fair while after your noting of him with the 6th Battalion in May 1917, he was captured and taken Prisoner of War during the 6th Battalion's fighting withdrawal from Jussy between 21st and 26th March 1918. He survived the war and was transferred to Class Z Reserve on 15th April 1919. As far as I can tell he was married twice (in 1914 and 1935) and died in 1963, age 76.

I believe that he is probably the Lance-Corporal Heffernan referred to in this topic:


If it is him, I assume he was recovering from his late 1914 wounds.


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