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sr97

Information on The Hunt Brothers

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sr97

Hi  all,

 

I have recently began researching my family's role in the First World War and have been advised that this forum may help.

 

I am seeking information on Sergeant Richard Henry Hunt, 7978 of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and his brother, Sergeant Herbert William Hunt, 8049 of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. From an article published online (https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/herbert-and-richard-hunt-of-chertsey/), I have discovered that both brothers were killed in action on the 9th of September 1914 in Aisne. My family and I are particularly interested in more information and photos of the men, or of their other brothers who all served in various branches of the British Army as detailed in the above link. Although there are two photographs from a featured newspaper article we are hoping there are possibly more. 

 

From memory, there was a previous article online which detailed the two men's story and featured a picture of their mother, Elenor Hunt, holding a child and looking at Herbert’s Medaille Militaire, titled 'Daddy's Medals' from The Beverley Recorder and Independent on Saturday 13 February 1915 on page 2, however, I can no longer seem to find this anywhere. I can find no mention of the brothers in East Surrey's First Regiment Diaries (http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/war_diaries/local/1Bn_East_Surrey.shtml), however I have found an article which features an image of a 'Sgt. Hunt' and other men on a shooting team, I know both brothers won competitions in bayonetting, however, it is very hard to tell if this is a relation of mine as the article discusses 1921 onwards, (http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/sport/sport007.shtml). 

 

If there is anyone here who may be able to help provide more information my family and I would be very grateful as this is something we have been trying to research for many months now with little result. As mentioned earlier, the first link features the best account of the Hunt family I can find.

 

Thank you.

 

 

Edited by sr97

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sr97

Hi all,

 

I have recently began researching my family's role in the First World War and have been advised that this forum may help.

 

I am seeking photographs of a Sergeant Richard Henry Hunt, 7978 of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and his brother, Sergeant Herbert William Hunt, 8049 of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. My family and I are particularly interested in more photos of the men, or of their other brothers who all served in various branches of the British Army as detailed in this link: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/herbert-and-richard-hunt-of-chertsey/. Although there are two photographs from a featured newspaper article we are hoping there are possibly more. 

 

If there is anyone here who may be able to help, my family and I would be very grateful as this is something we have been trying to research for many months now with little result. I have included the only images of the men we currently have if this is of any use.

 

Thank you.

 

115062.jpg

115063.jpg

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PRC
19 hours ago, sr97 said:

From memory, there was a previous article online which detailed the two men's story and featured a picture of their mother, Elenor Hunt, holding a child and looking at Herbert’s Medaille Militaire, titled 'Daddy's Medals' from The Beverley Recorder and Independent on Saturday 13 February 1915 on page 2, however, I can no longer seem to find this anywhere.

The Surrey in the Great War articles cites it as being on the British Newspaper Archive website. Thats' subscription based although if you are in the UK most public libraries have subscribed  and so you can get free unlimited access while on site. As the software used to do the transcriptions is, to put it mildly, "quirky", I would always suggest trying it out at the library first just to get a feel for it.

 

Additionally if the family didn't have a Beverley connection the picture may well have been syndicated and so could well appear in other regional press titles.

 

Again that Surrey in the Great War source states 8049 Herbert William Hunt joined the East Surrey Regiment on the 11th November 1903. The standard term of enlistment was 12 years, normally split 7 years in the colours and five in reserve.  There was scope to change that split and there was the option of signing up for the full 21 years in order to receive a pension. I can't seem to find him on the 1911 Census of England & Wales, which raises the prospect he had signed up for the long haul.

 

The 1911 Census of England & Wales is a bit of a misnomer - it includes British Army units and British Navy ships and bases anywhere in the world - unless the location was covered by another British Empire Census taking place at the same time. That's essentially Scotland & Ireland. Of the two Regular Army Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment, the Division of which the 1st Battalion were part was in the process of moving to Ireland. Harts Annual Military List for 1911, (correct to the end of 1910), shows them headquartered at Kinsale.  The 2nd Battalion was in India, (actually Burma - the census says Thayetmyo ).

 

The Kinsale location would seem to tie up with the marriage in December 1913, although if you don't already have it you might want to consider investiing in the marriage certificate to confirm he was still a serving soldier.

 

His Medal Index Card has him as 1st East Surreys and landing in France on the 16th August 1914 - presumably information confirmed by his Service Medal Rolls, (available on Ancestry).

 

19 hours ago, sr97 said:

I can find no mention of the brothers in East Surrey's First Regiment Diaries (http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/war_diaries/local/1Bn_East_Surrey.shtml),

 

I have been very grateful for the existance of this particular website over the years, but where it does have a problem is that it seldom includes the appendices. Particularly early on these may give more detailed casualty lists. If you have access to Ancestry either the Battalion or the relevant Brigade, (which includes copies of all the War Diaries of the units that made up the Brigade) can be seen there.

 

Will have a further look later, but hope that adds to what you already know.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

Edited by PRC
Typo

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sr97

Unfortunately, the family lives in Ireland so no luck on the library front, will look into subscription though. As far as I'm aware there was no Beverly connection. In terms of not being on the census I believe the brothers were stationed in Wellington Barracks (now Griffith College) in Dublin, as the article says Mrs. Hunt received Herbert's identity disc whilst living there, could this possibly be the reason? This would tie in with the August 4th entry in the 1914 Battalion Diary which states orders to mobilise were given in Dublin. 

 

Thank you for the information, we don't have much to go on so all is appreciated.

Stephen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PRC

I don't know if this adds anything to your knowledge of the events of the 9th September 1914 - it's a personal memoir of the Brigadier General of the 15th Brigade, 5th Division.

(The East Surreys were in the 14th Brigade).

 

_Sept. 9th._

Next morning we moved off at 7.30 and went _viâ_ Saacy across the Marne to Merz, and thence up an extremely steep and bad road through the woods. It was a very hot day, and as there was no prospect of getting the transport up I left it behind at Merz, meaning to send it round another way when the road was clear. Firing was going on to the left front, and we halted for a council of war with the Divisional Staff, which was immediately in front of us.

 

The 14th Brigade was apparently hung up somewhere to our left front and couldn't get on, so we were sent on to help them take the high ground towards the Montreuil road. They were, we were told, already in possession of Hill 189; but when we emerged from the woods there was a Prussian battery on the hill. There did not seem to be any men with
it, as far as we could see, and it was not firing. But we made a good target, and not more than a battalion had got clear when the "deserted" battery opened fire and lobbed a shell or two into the Bedfords and Cheshires.

 

They only lost a man or two killed and wounded; but a Howitzer battery with us, which was already on the lookout, came into action at once and speedily silenced the German guns for the time being.

 

Bols, who was leading, reported that the hill was attackable--it was really only a rise in the ground,--and after a reconnaissance I gladly issued orders. So the Norfolks and Dorsets proceeded to attack in proper form, whilst I sent the Bedfords round to the right towards Bézu to try and take the rise in flank. The 14th Brigade were meanwhile somewhere on the left, and we got touch with them after a time; but they could not get forward, as a number of big guns from much further off kept up a heavy fire, and there was a body of infantry hidden somewhere as well, to judge from the number of bullets that came over and into us.

 

That was rather a trying afternoon. Dorsets and Norfolks were held up about half a mile from Hill 189, and I went forward to Bézu with the Bedfords to try to get them on to the flank. Thorpe and his company got forward into a wood, but lost a number of men in getting there; and the lie of the ground did not seem to justify my sending many more to help him, as the space up to the wood was swept by a heavy fire. Just about this time poor Roe of the Dorsets, who had taken some of his company into this wood, was shot through the head--as was also George, one of his subalterns.

 

Meanwhile those horrible big guns from somewhere near Sablonnières were giving us a lot of trouble, and knocked out also several of the Cheshires, who had been sent by the Divisional Commander towards the left to support the 14th Brigade. The latter--(I went to see Rolt, the Brigadier, but there was little we could combine)--seemed at one
moment to be a little unhappy, as they were enfiladed from Chanoust on their left; but the Dorsets had worked carefully forward on their tummies, and with the Norfolks held a low ridge well to the front, whence, though they could not get forward themselves, they could do the enemy a good deal of damage. So the 14th Brigade stuck it out, and we kept up the game till dusk, when we dug ourselves in a little further back and posted outposts.

 

I might add that when Weatherby and I went forward to see Bols and Ballard, Weatherby had bad luck, for his horse was shot in the body whilst he was leading him, and died that night.

 

Meanwhile the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division was on our right, under Shaw, and although his Lincolns, or some of them, had got into the wood, and we tried a combined movement, they also got hung up there and we could not get on.

 

The Germans certainly fought this rear-guard action remarkably well. We did not know at the time that it was a rear-guard action, for we thought a whole corps might be occupying a strong position here and intending to fight next day. But no more fighting took place that night, and by next morning they had cleared out.

 

From "The Doings of the 15th Infantry Brigade" by Edward, Lord Gleichen.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22074

 

The official regimental history of the Queens Own Royal West Kents is also online. The 1st Battalion were in the 13th Brigade and were thrown in to shore up the position of the 14th Brigade. As well as a couple of pages on the events of the 9th, if you head to the last two pages of the chapter then one of the maps covers the movement of the Battalion during this period.

http://janetandrichardsgenealogy.co.uk/QORWK - C T ATKINSON Ch 2.pdf

 

Hope that helps,

 

Peter

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sr97

Hi Peter,

 

Thanks for taking time to provide the account, harrowing stuff. It really puts into perspective what the brothers faced.

 

Can remember a big copper disc in my grandmother's house which belonged to one but in terms of other medals there were none , unfortunately. Can only imagine where they ended up.

 

Stephen.

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PRC
1 hour ago, sr97 said:

Can remember a big copper disc in my grandmother's house which belonged to one

 

Most likely the Memorial Plaque, (aka the 'Death Penny') which also came with a memorial scroll. Because of the vast numbers issued a lot of Death Penny's survive but the scroll's are fairly rare. (Image of the Death Penny, courtesy of Wikipedia, is attached).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Plaque_(medallion)#/media/File:Memorial_Plaque_(medallion).jpg

 

The two brothers who died would have been entitled to the 1914 Star with clasp, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. I believe there would also have been a rosette for their Mention in Despatches, (Supplement to the London Gazette, 9 December 1914) https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29001/supplement/10544/data.pdf

This relates to Sir John French's Despatch of the 8th October 1914 and is a corrected list only.  Strangely, as the two brothers are included in the list of those that provided notable services, the despatch itself covers from the night of the 10th September 1914.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/british-field-commanders-despatches/sir-john-frenchs-third-despatch-aisne/

 

The National Archive holds a record card for the original despatch listing in the London Gazette on the 16th October 1914 and a separate one for the revised listing, headed "Correction", just to confuse things!

 

On Richard's Medal Index Card it looks like his Victory Medal was returned. The cards are full of reference numbers relating to other documents, only some of which like the Service Medal Rolls are available online, (Ancestry). I suspect they were reissued, but there also seems to have been an inquiry between 1979 and 1981, possibly relating to this, from person or persons not shown. Image of the MiC attached,  courtesy of Ancestry, in case anyone else on the Forum can make more sense of it.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

 

Memorial_Plaque_(medallion).jpg

Richard H Hunt East Surrey Regt MIC sourced Ancestry.jpg

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spof

Hi Stephen and welcome to the Forum.

 

I've merged your other post into this one so as to keep all the information in one place and avoid having members duplicating research.

 

Glen

GWF Admin Team

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sr97

Hi Glen much appreciated.

 

52 minutes ago, PRC said:

 

Most likely the Memorial Plaque, (aka the 'Death Penny') which also came with a memorial scroll. Because of the vast numbers issued a lot of Death Penny's survive but the scroll's are fairly rare. (Image of the Death Penny, courtesy of Wikipedia, is attached).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Plaque_(medallion)#/media/File:Memorial_Plaque_(medallion).jpg

 

 

Hi Peter, 

 

Yes that was the disc, very recognisable. Don't think there was ever a scroll with it.  

 

56 minutes ago, PRC said:

On Richard's Medal Index Card it looks like his Victory Medal was returned. The cards are full of reference numbers relating to other documents, only some of which like the Service Medal Rolls are available online, (Ancestry). I suspect they were reissued, but there also seems to have been an inquiry between 1979 and 1981, possibly relating to this, from person or persons not shown. Image of the MiC attached,  courtesy of Ancestry, in case anyone else on the Forum can make more sense of it.

 

Wondering what the reason for a return would have been? Interesting to hear about the enquiry, am wondering who could of made it. I don't suppose there is any further records on the outcome of this enquiry?

 

Stephen.

 

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BullerTurner
2 hours ago, PRC said:

I believe there would also have been a rosette for their Mention in Despatches,


The emblem would have been an oakleaf spray, worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal.

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PRC
22 hours ago, sr97 said:

In terms of not being on the census I believe the brothers were stationed in Wellington Barracks (now Griffith College) in Dublin, as the article says Mrs. Hunt received Herbert's identity disc whilst living there, could this possibly be the reason?

 

Wherever they were in Ireland would have been enough to ensure they didn’t appear on the England & Wales Census.I thought the 1st East Surreys were at the Curragh in the run up to the outbreak of World War 1, but even then some of the married quarters might have been in the Castle. I’m also operating on inference rather than definate knowledge – they were in the same Division as the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment who were moved up to Belfast in 1912. On mobilisation the Norfolks sailed down to Dublin to join up with the ships carrying other units of the 5th Division before going on to land at Le Havre on the 14th/15th August 1914.

 

On 04/12/2019 at 15:39, sr97 said:

I am seeking information on Sergeant Richard Henry Hunt, 7978 of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment

 

Richard’s number you have as 7978 and the Surrey in the Great War website has him serving in the Boer War. However, the Army Service number site has 7978 being issued by the Regular Army Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment between the 12th January 1903, (7664) and the 12th January 1904 (8104).

http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2009/06/east-surrey-regiment-1st-2nd-battalions.html

 

So seems he either joined up in the same 12 month period as his brother Herbert or he transferred in to the East Surreys during that period. He may have seen garrison duty in South Africa at some point, but he didn’t serve with them in the Boer War. I can’t see him on the Kings South Africa Service Medal Roll for the East Surreys.

 

The Surrey in the Great War website has him born 5th December 1882, so unless he lied about his age the earliest he could have joined any Regular Army unit on adult terms was the 5th December 1900 and the earliest he could have legally served in a Theatre of War was the 5th December 1901, so it’s possible, if it has been confirmed he was in the Boer War, that he might have served with another Regiment.

 

The 2nd Battalion were out there from 1899 to the end of the war and may have stayed on a little longer, but Harts Annual Army List for 1904, (correct to the end of 1903), has them at Lucknow, Bengal. The 1st Battalion was at Aldershot. The other alternative is that the 4th Battalion also has South Africa as a battle honour. The 4th Battalion was one of the Regiment’s Militia Battalions, (after 1908 Territorial Force). The reality is that members of the militia only signed up for defence of their home county, although there was the option of Imperial Service. Many Militia Battalions did send their Imperial Service men, but this seldom amounted to more than a half-company to a company, (100-200 men), and as sickness and combat attrition took it’s toll, there was no pool of replacements available to come out from the UK. They seemed to have usually been attached to the Regular Army Battalion of their Regiment and were often regarded as a hindrance rather than a help – they weren’t armed or trained with current standard equipment. However, certainly as far as the Norfolks are concerned, some of the Militia did go on to serve in the Regular Army, and I suspect the same is true for other Regiments like the East Surreys.

 

The Surrey in the Great War Site records that Richard was married and had two children, Richard George born 9 December 1913 and Lawrence Henry born 12 April 1915.

 

Richard George actually appears to have been registered in Dublin as just Richard, his father was recorded as a Soldier, his mothers’ maiden name was Wood, first name (probably) Jane, and they were living at 4 Charlemont Place, Dublin.

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/birth_returns/births_1914/01422/1584068.pdf

 

The birth of a Lawrence H. Hunt, mothers maiden name Wood, was registered in the Chertsey District of Surrey in the April to June quarter, (Q2), of 1915.

 

Trawling back, the most likely marriage took place in Dublin. Richard Hunt, (no middle names), is already shown as a Sergeant in the 1/East Surrey Regiment. His wife was Jane Wood.

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/marriage_returns/marriages_1913/09898/5596611.pdf

 

9 hours ago, sr97 said:

but in terms of other medals there were none , unfortunately. Can only imagine where they ended up.

 

Medals aren't really my thing, but I note other regular contributors here usually point enquirers about "lost" medals to the British Medal Forum and also recommend setting up a standard E-bay alert.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

4 hours ago, BullerTurner said:

The emblem would have been an oakleaf spray, worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal.

 

I stand corrected - thank you :)

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sr97

Honestly not to sure about service in Boer War as we have only been able to go off the Surrey in the Great War article, but certainly learning more. 

 

1 hour ago, PRC said:

 

Wherever they were in Ireland would have been enough to ensure they didn’t appear on the England & Wales Census.I thought the 1st East Surreys were at the Curragh in the run up to the outbreak of World War 1, but even then some of the married quarters might have been in the Castle. I’m also operating on inference rather than definate knowledge – they were in the same Division as the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment who were moved up to Belfast in 1912. On mobilisation the Norfolks sailed down to Dublin to join up with the ships carrying other units of the 5th Division before going on to land at Le Havre on the 14th/15th August 1914.

 

 It was an interview with a WW1 historian that I learned about the East Surrey Regiment in Wellington Barracks, Dublin by chance whilst making a film there. I see on Richard and Jane's marriage document that his residence at the time was Wellington Barracks. 

 

1 hour ago, PRC said:

The Surrey in the Great War Site records that Richard was married and had two children, Richard George born 9 December 1913 and Lawrence Henry born 12 April 1915.

 

Richard George actually appears to have been registered in Dublin as just Richard, his father was recorded as a Soldier, his mothers’ maiden name was Wood, first name (probably) Jane, and they were living at 4 Charlemont Place, Dublin.

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/birth_returns/births_1914/01422/1584068.pdf

 

The birth of a Lawrence H. Hunt, mothers maiden name Wood, was registered in the Chertsey District of Surrey in the April to June quarter, (Q2), of 1915.

 

Yes, Lawrence was my great grandfather who I know served in WW2, both sons lived in Dublin. Never had Jane's maiden name so thank you for that. Her address at the time of her marriage was 4 Charlemont in Dublin so curious as to why Lawrence's birth was registered back in his fathers home county, possibly born whilst visiting Richard's family?

 

The more information I learn the more questions I have :) 

 

Stephen. 

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PRC
41 minutes ago, sr97 said:

Her address at the time of her marriage was 4 Charlemont in Dublin so curious as to why Lawrence's birth was registered back in his fathers home county, possibly born whilst visiting Richard's family?

 

This is speculation, but I'll offer up one scenario that accounts for it. When her husband sails for France in August 1914, Jane, pregnant and with a small child and almost certainly living in rented accomodation, (4 Charlemont Place) and facing the prospect of surviving financially on a separation allowance plus whatever else of her husbands pay he allocates her, may have simply looked at moving in with family as a cheaper option and one that might provide support. No doubt like everywhere else inflation starts to pick up, particularly in rents as Dublin starts to be a major training and administrative centre for the war effort, plus even if she was a local girl, (to be confirmed) I don't know what the attitudes were like towards the wives of Englishmen, which dould have been another factor. With her husbands unit no longer in residence there was also no option of married quarters.

 

So the question then is does she move in with her parents or her in-laws. The marriage certificate tells us that both her father and her father-in-law were dead. We know Richard & Herberts' mother is alive.  So the unknown is whether Janes' mother is still alive and if so whether she has remarried - poverty and \ or an overcrowded house would possibly make her mother-in-laws household look more attractive by comparison.

 

Given the length of the journey and the risk involved - shipping was already being attacked in the Irish Sea by U-Boats by the spring of 1915 -  to my mind it seems unlikely she would just have travelled to Chertsey to have the baby. While an early labour is possible the fact that Jane had not seen her husband since the start of August 1914 and the baby Lawrence wasn't born until the 12th April 1915 I make that roughly 8 months pregnant at a minimum, Of course sometimes these things do happen :)

 

Cheers,

Peter

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sr97

Hi Peter,

 

Yes seems most likely this was the case to us as well, a risky journey so must have been necessary, I know that their other brothers, Charles and Archibald were also away fighting so that would have left just Jane and Eleanor, with all of her sons fighting i'm glad she had some comfort with her grandsons there. 

 

Regards,

Stephen. 

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