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Remembered Today:

H J De Reuter, 7th Royal Highlanders, 13/11/16


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In Remembrance of Private Hubert Julius De Reuter 6928, 15 Platoon, D Company, 1/7th Royal Highlanders, 152 Brigade, 51st Highland Division. Killed in action during the assault on Y-Ravine, Beaumont-Hamel, 13/11/16.


The two platoons of the 7th attached to the 6th Battalion The Black Watch were engaged in this severe fighting and aquitted themselves well. D Company's platoon, under Sergeant Jarvis - who had taken over command when 2nd Lt Menzies was wounded - catured one German officer and 97 other ranks, taking 35 men from one dug-out alone. This was largely due to the gallant action of Private H. De Reuter, who went down a dug-out twenty feet underground and shouted in German for the defenders to come out. Receiving no reply, he threw two bombs round the corner of the staircase and, when they exploded, repeated the order. "One officer and thirty-five men," came the reply, and this time that number filed out. De Reuter's knowledge of German was useful later, when he compelled this officer to give orders to an isolated post containing some 60 Germans to stop firing and surrender, which they did.

A History of The Black watch (Royal Highlanders) in the Great War, 1914-1918, by A.G.Wauchope.


It is said he carried two wounded men to a place of safety and was killed while carrying a third.


He is buried at Mailly Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Maillet, grave reference I. L. 15.


Another thing to note about Hubert was that he didn't need to be on the front line in France. He was the grandson of Baron Julius De Reuter, the founder of Reuters, the news agency. Hubert's father, Herbert, had died the year previous and had aquired the title of 3rd Baron De Reuter.

When war was declared in August 1914, Hubert joined the Sportman’s Battalion as a second-lieutenant. Aged 38 and kept back by the regimental depot because of his steadying influence on his juniors while wave after wave of younger men were sent to Flanders, discontent and frustration set in. He resigned his commission, put a coat over his officer’s uniform, re-enlisted as a private in the 42nd Highlanders and, almost immediately, was sent to France.


During my research I came across the following poem, written by William R Torvaney. Torvaney had been an officer with the 7th Royal Highlanders and knew Hubert, but was serving with 1st Highland Feild Company during the battle for Beaumont-Hamel. He wrote this poem on hearing the death of Hubert, our Harry.




We 'ad a toff in our platoon
a Baron's son was he,
a toff wot did his share of work
an' drank his Army tea
an' spent near all his handy cash
on chaps like you and me


He might have been a red-tab swell
that's wot he might have been,
but then we chaps that's coarser-like
would never quite ha' seen
the splendid man he was right through
a soldier - straight and keen

He's gone - like many another chap
an' we wot's out here still

when grey dawn breaks and men 'stand to'
when armies fight and kill.
We misses 'Arry, our star toff
who lies near Mailly hill

I ain't religious, but I'd like
to thank the God who gave
this world our Harry, Baron's son
who found a soldier's grave



Why did I post this remembrance of Hubert Julius De Reuter? I have no connection to him, except in one respect. My granfather served with the 7th Royal Highlanders and fought also at Beaumont-Hamel. I have no idea whether they were friends, or even knew each other or not. My grandfather survived the war and went on to have four sons, one being my father. Hubert had no children, no one to remember him. So in memory of my grandfather, I remember Hubert Julius De Reuter, 3rd Baron De Reuter, our toff, our Harry.



La a'Blair s'math n Cairdean
"Friends are good on the day of battle"




Grandson of James McLeod McNeil, 4214, 291244, 7th Royal Highlanders.



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