Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War
On the centenary of their death, we remember
Hubert Harold HAYESMORE
b. Oct-Dec 1893;
d. 1st July 1916. Aged 22.
7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
Remembered with Honour
Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz
(Somme, Picardie, France)
[Disinterred from Mansel Copse West Cemetery, Mametz]
Plot 8, Row V, Grave 2
Killed in Action
This family has its roots in Marden, Kent, and latterly in Tenterden where most of Hubert's eight brothers and one sister were born. By 1911, their parents Alfred and Emily, had moved to Fairview Cottages, Rolvenden but by the time war broke out their parent's address was given in registers of Effects as Harbridge Manor Cottage, Cranbrook, Kent. Hubert was the middle one of three brothers to enlist on the same day to the new 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), disembark on the same day (28th July 1915), and lost their lives close to each other at the Front. A fourth brother enlisted later and survived. See bottom of this page.
As the only son whose body was recovered, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that his grief-stricken mother, Emily, paid 16s. 7d for the additional inscription to his grave marker:-
"Sleep On my Darling Boy
Until we meet again
Ever Loving Mother and Father"
As the sole legatee for each of her boys, for Hubert, Emily initially received £7 18s. 2d. followed later by a War Gratuity £6 10s. It was common for mothers to be named as sole legatee by their sons even though his father was alive (dying in Sissinghurst on 15th April 1940 at the age of 89).
Hubert's appearance on the Newnham Memorial is explained by his employment as a groom at to Captain Faunce De Laune of Sharsted Court, a remarkable and historically important estate sitting on the Newnham/Doddington parish boundaries. Earlier records describe Hubert as a "gardener", like his father. Mr Alured Faunce de Laune was involved very early in recruiting initiatives. Hubert is also remembered on the Rolvenden Memorial.
Hubert's final resting place was an example of "concentration" as his body had been marked and identified in Mansel Copse West ("MCW" on CWGC documents) Cemetery, Mametz (460 metres west of Mansel Copse Cemetery on the Fricourt-Maricourt Road). From there, Hubert's body was reburied nearby in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz. This ground was won in 1st July 1916, lost in March 1918 and regained in August 1918.
For a summary of the strategic objectives across the entire front of the Battle of the Somme, we have transcribed the 23rd December 1916 Despatch from General DOUGLAS HAIG, Commanding-in-Chief, British Armies in France.
7th Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs), was assigned to the 18th Division of the 55th Infantry Brigade.
After landing at Boulogne, 20 minutes after midnight on 28th July 1915, the Battalion boarded a train at the Central Station for BERTANGLES and then moved into billets. On 6th August the Battalion marched to BONNAY, then on to BOIS Des TAILES and BRAY. Between 10th and 16th August, at Bray, these new soldiers were temporarily attached to the 15th Brigade for instruction in trenches with only one casualty, G/5253, Private A. White, wounded. Soon after, they were placed in Brigade reserve and soon afterwards they moved into the Front Line to and from billets in DERNANCOURT. For Hubert, this period was relatively quiet as there was very little action by the enemy so only a few casualties; efforts were made to prepare for winter. Throughout this early period, during quiet times, the soldiers were regularly used to build infrastructure - tramways, light railways, and accommodation.
Through November and December soldiers were beset by persistent rain, swamped trenches, collapses due to wet clay and bombardments. Regularly sustained small arms fire and shelling in both directions saw the year out.
It wasn't until 31st January that Hubert and his two brothers would experience intense fire-power from the German side.
"Between 11.15-12 noon enemy shelled front line trenches fairly heavily - very little damage done. At 4.40pm enemy commenced intense bombardment of F.1 - mostly on the left:- The wood was shelled first and then the front line trenches. Lachrymatory shells [tear gas] were employed - communication broke down with left Company HQ about ten minutes after commencement of bombardment. It is estimated that they were firing shells of various sizes at the rate of 100 a minute. - Our 18-pounders B./84 R.F.A. came into action; their forward observing post was knocked out in the first few minutes our heavies came into action. Our 18 pounders kept up an effective barrage - as it was expected that the enemy would leave their trenches. They did opposite the next subsector (F1.2) which had been subjected to a still heavier bombardment and got into the trenches and captured several prisoners. The bombardment was continuous until 6pm - when it died down and the evening passed quite quietly. Work was heard in their trenches and it was supposed a fair deal of damage had been done. Our casualties were 2 killed; 6 wounded. Corporal HOPPER M.E. Corporal was one of the killed - owing to a direct hit on an M.E. emplacement. 11th Essex on our left 7th Queens on right."
Looking at the planning documents for the part of the Front shared with the French Army reveals a staged approach to the planned assault with the 'ideal' outcome being success across the whole front with the first wave followed by a cavalry charge to drive forward the Allied position to the "brown line" (on maps of the German trenches). This final objective was not achieved, but there was significant progress to the 3rd Objectives ("green line") identified by the 18th Division - which contained the 55th Brigade, which in turn contained the 7th (Service) East Kent Regiment (The Buffs).
For days before the assault, Allied barrage was heavy and continuous. The opening up of Battle of The Somme was then postponed 48 hours due to poor weather but the barrage continued. The new date (1st July) was misty and fine.
The build-up to what was called "Z" or "Zero" day involved a massive build up of artillery, Stokes guns, trench mortars, small arms ammunition, rations, water supply and manpower. This had to be done without alerting the German troops to the Allied intentions. If companies were not being used elsewhere, they were tasked with building railways, repairing roads, and training. Hubert and his brother faced intensive training ahead of the assault from 26th May to 9th June near Picquigny (N.W. of Amiens). There was a particular focus on attacks in the open, attacks from trench, bayonet fighting, musketry, instruction of N.C.O.s and Smoke Helmet Drill. Particular attention was given to preparing and exploiting "special trenches" that included the "Russian saps" (shallow/sometimes covered trenches dug at right angles to the front so that soldiers could move forward under cover before having to break cover for the open assault). Some of the saps included flammenwerfers in preparation for the assault. It was hoped to be able to carry out a Brigade attack in the open. But owing to the height of the crops, and the damage that would be done the attack had to be abandoned. There was however plenty of uncultivated land over which Battalions and Companies practised open warfare.
The majority of the training was devoted to practising the attack on the German System of Trenches lying East and North East of the CARNOY MINE CRATERS. Each Battalion had three days practise either by Companies or Battalions. This was followed up by doing the attack as a complete Brigade on the third, sixth and seventh of June. On the first day Saturday June 3rd., the attack was done as a drill. On Sunday June 4th., all Officers and N.C.O.s paraded on the Trench Area Ground to go through the attack in skeleton. On June 6th and 7th., the attack was carried out as a Brigade. On each day the assault was practised twice. The two Battalions that formed the leading Battalions in the morning, formed the Reserve in the afternoon, and the two Battalions that formed the Reserve in the morning formed the assaulting troops in the afternoon.
Training trenches tended to be dug to two feet depth as it was most important to get used to the scale and geography of the German trenches.
Packs and greatcoats were surrendered for storage in LAPREE WOOD in favour of haversacks and the detailed list of arms and rations. During the night the Buffs marched from billets at BRAY, via BILLON Valley and through BEDFORD AVENUE. Two carrying platoons provided by The Buffs were instructed:
1. Their first journey forward will be carrying R.E. Material etc., for consolidation.
2. Their second and subsequent journeys will be for what is urgently required, either R.E. Material, S.A.A. or Grenades.
It is their business to find out what is most urgently required.
Breakfast included hot tea and rum ration.
Immediately before the assault, planned for 7.30, the Royal Engineers fired several mines and the Artillery rate intensified. That artillery barrage then 'lifted' (increased the trajectory that then lengthened where the munitions landed) according to a strict time-table; troops timed their three stages of attack to fall behind that barrage. As a Report on the battle later accepted, the Allies under-estimated how deep the German dugouts were. So, from the outset, losses were severe as the attack on the Craters got hung up by German machine guns that were also being protected by snipers. Soldiers were also advised that Allied gas shells (nerve gas/"lachrymatory" gas and phosgene) would disperse quickly under most circumstances - but bombs should be thrown into German dugouts before entering as gas could settle and should be dispersed by explosions.
Not knowing in which Company or Platoon Hubert served we have transcribed the whole Battalion Diary for these opening days with insertions from the Diaries of the Brigade and Division where they help paint a picture of what Hubert and his brother were facing. The 'bigger' picture was of very tough fighting, some hand-to-hand, but brutal losses through well-entrenched German machine guns. Breaking any stalemate was often the job of the specialist Stokes Gunners who could fire accurate, very rapid (five shells could still be in the air as the sixth round was fired) mortar-like rounds of high explosives, or gas, or shrapnel.
"30th June - In billets. Moved at 5.30pm to assembly trenches in LAPREE WOOD, ready for assault on 1st July – hot tea with rum was prepared for the men in CARNOY VALLEY. A halt was made in BILLON VALLEY before proceeding to LAPREE WOOD – B Company proceeded direct to CARNOY. A, C & D Companies to their respective assembly trenches.
1st July: CARNOY: By midnight 30 June/1st July, Battalion was disposed as follows:-
7am: A Company followed by C Company assembled to move down into CARNOY Valley.
7.30am: ZERO Time. Assaulting Battalions and crater party went over the parapet.
7.35am: Leading waves could be observed from Battalion Report Centre moving forward.
German rifle and machine gun fire heavy.
Heavy hostile shelling on our front line system.
8am: Message received from C Company that 2 platoons had lost heavily in moving into assembly trenches.
8.25am: Message received from C Company detailing casualties and asking if POMMIERS line taken.
8.30am: Message to C Company. No news re POMMIERS. No13 platoon placed at disposal of C Company to replace No12 platoon (heavy casualties)
8.30am: Message received from A Company. Captain BLACK wounded. Casualties slight.
[Brigade Diary Entry: 8.32 am 7th BUFFS report majority of their men in German Lines.
8.37 am 7th Buffs ordered to get into touch with the 7th QUEENS at once, and see if help is wanted. Craters must be cleared. Then help Surreys. Let R.W. Kent Regiment if they go forward.]
8.40am: Message to A Company. Two platoons to reinforce left of E. Surreys at once.
8.45am: Message received from Brigade as follows:- "Queens report Eastern Crater still holding out. Got touch with Queens and give help they require to take craters, and push on to POMMIERS Line to Support E. Surreys."
8.50am: Orders sent to C Company to support Queens and E. Surreys and capture POMMIERS working in conjunction with left of A Company.
From the Official Report of Capt KENCHINGTON: At 8.50 a.m. I warned the party in the area as far as possible and turned the STOKES gun for 10 minutes on to the strong point where the enemy were sniping. This had excellent results. A concerted rush on the part of the men remaining (with 4 more bombers sent by Major KEMP-WELCH commanding the 7th QUEENS) carried the dump and the snipers were bayoneted. They died splendidly with heaps of cartridges round them. The M.G. emplacement was found to be concreted. The gun we kept.
8.55am: Orders sent to D Company to support Crater party and get in touch with Queens
9.00am: Message to Brigade giving situation and orders issued.
9.00am: Message from Capt KENCHINGTON (O.C. Crater Party) timed 8.35am. Craters reported clear except one machine gun. 8.30 Considerable resistance offered.
9.03am: Message to Capt KENCHINGTON – D Company ordered to support you.
9.05am: Acknowledgement received from D Company as regards supporting crater party.
9.07am: Messages to Queens and E. Surreys stating 7th Buffs were supporting them.
9.10am: Message received from Capt. KENCHINGTON that Machine Gun and snipers still holding out on chalk dump at Craters.
9.10am: One platoon A Company ordered to support E. Surreys at WARREN Trench.
9.15am: Message received from Capt. KENCHINGTON. One platoon urgently needed for craters.
9.20am: Message received from E. Surreys, Company urgently required to work along railway and valley where enemy is still holding out between our right and left of 21st Infantry Brigade.
9.23am: Message to RWKent. Repeating E. Surrey message and asking them to take it on as have only one platoon.
9.25am: Message to E. Surrey. Have passed your message to RWKent.
9.43am: Message received from E. Surreys. Our latest messages are – F.O.O. [Forward Observation Officer] reports Train Alley taken. Also verbal report POMMIERS LINE occupied by us.
9.45am: Message repeated to Brigade
10.05am: Message received from Brigade. E. Surreys in WARREN. Germans reported bombing down valley. Support E. Surrey right.
10.08am: Message to A, C, and D Companies – Report situation.
10.10am: Conversation with Brigades on telephone. He says RWKent will undertake consolidation of POMMIERS Line
10.15am: Message to RWKent. Brigadier asks me to refer to you for company to consolidate POMMIER LINE.
10.15am to 11.15am: No information of situation.
11.15am: Message from 2nd Lt. DYSON commanding A Company. Am at DUGOUT Trench with 2 platoons and 1 platoon C Company. Am bombing up BRESLAU ALLEY and MINE ALLEY to take MILL Trench.
11.15am: Message from RWKent. Am sending 2 Companies to push home the advance. One other Company will follow behind them to consolidate POMMIER LINE.
11.30am: 2 Companies 8th Suffolks arrived in our front line system of trenches to support 55 Infantry Brigade.
From 11am, Battalion Report Centre heavily shelled with 15cm howitzers.
[Brigade Diary Entry: 11.43am A mixed lot of Buffs & Surreys, 3 platoons Buffs, two platoons Surreys in MILL TRENCH]
12.30pm: No definite information. C.O. with Lieuts BURNSIDE and McCOLL moved forward via Craters – moved up MINE ALLEY as far as two left hand houses of MONTAUBAN trying to find O.C. E. Surreys but without success. Parties of E. Surreys. W. Kent seen, also a few Buffs.
Returned down MINE ALLEY and met O.C. Queens near junction of MINE ALLEY with CARNOY-MONTAUBAN Road.
Advance H.Q. of both Battalions established at this point.
[Transcription Note: new handwriting at this point - perhaps due to injury or loss of the first diary-keeper]
Ascertained that situation as regards Queens was as follows:- They had lost heavily taken on the line of the MAMETZ-MONTAUBAN Road with their right on the orchard. As O.C. Queens was doubtful if he was strong enough on his left O.C. Buffs ordered 2 platoons of D company under Captain NEAME to reinforce the left of the Queens and to fill the gap existing between the 55th and 53rd Brigades. – This they did and the whole line advanced and occupied MONTAUBAN ALLEY. Capt. NEAME being unfortunately killed.
Captain KENCHINGTON and the remains of B Company came to Battalion HQ (No2 strong point) shortly after this – also a few men of D Company. O.C. 7th R.W.Kent Regiment arrived at No.2 Strong Point and asked 7th Buffs to undertake consolidation of POMMIERS Line.
This work was handed over to B Company.
Later Capt. TAIT arrived with 1 platoon of C Company.
The distribution of the Battalion at this time was roughly as follows:-
Rations arrived during the evening 2nd Lt. KEOWN (Transport Officer) doing excellent work in getting them up.
Intermittent shelling by the enemy on MONTAUBAN Alley, MINE ALLEY and POMMIER trench. There was no difficulty with the water supply – carrying parties were working well.
[Brigade Diary Entry: 9.20 pm: Message sent to Division that – All Battalion are joined up on MONTAUBAN LINE in touch with 90th Infantry Brigade and 53rd Infantry Brigade.
7th Queens and 7th R.W. Kent Regiment in front line.
8th East Surrey Regiment in support.
7th Buffs in POMMIERS Line
Report to Division on steps taken to consolidate.]
2nd July: CARNOY: 4.00am: An enemy reconnaissance was dispersed by rifle and machine gun fire – report received that the enemy were counter-attacking on our right.
9.05am: The 2 platoons under 2nd Lt DYSON in trench S.27.c.1075 to S.2.y.6065 relieved by 7th R.W.Kent Regiment and withdrew to trench S.27.c.85 to S.27.c.1.7.
8.00pm: The 2 platoons under 2nd Lt. DYSON were relieved by 7th R.W.Kent Regiment and withdrew to POMMIER line – on the left – joining up with the 10th Essex.
Intermittent shelling by the enemy during the day. MINE ALLEY was shelled fairly heavily.
3rd July: 2 platoons of D Company relieved by 7th R.W.Kent Regiment and withdrawn to POMMIER line.
Intermittent shelling by enemy on MONTAUBAN ALLEY, DUGOUT TRENCH and POMMIER line.
4th July Enemy still continued to shell MONTAUBAN ALLEY and POMMIER LINE at intervals. Rained very hard during the afternoon and much work had to be done in clearing trenches.
7pm: Received message from the Brigade that the Battalion would be relieved by the 10th ESSEX Regiment and on relief to proceed to BRONFAY FARM.
5th July: 3.45am Last platoon arrived at BRONFAY FARM about 3.45am.- all men very tired after a rather strenuous 4 days:- accommodation at BRONFAY FARM very bad – more tents promised later in the day. Hot tea was issued to the men on arrival at BRONFAY FARM.- O.C. 7th QUEENS (Major KEMP WELCH) very kindly lent their mess and cooks thus enabling a hot meal to be provided for all officers.
10.00am 50 more tents arrived – all officers and men in tents.
The day spent in resting – weather fine.
|UNIT. 7th (S) Battalion The Buffs|
|STRENGTH RETURN MADE UP TO 12 NOON SATURDAY May 15th 1916.|
|Fighting strength from last week.||Increases.||Totals from (i) & (ii)||Decreases||Fighting Strength||Details (included in ‘A’.).||Remarks. Re. (ii). (iv) ‘B’ etc.|
|32||979||2||20||34||999||-||1||34||998||10||115||Details regarding column ‘B’ attached|
Subject: CASUALTIES S.C.186 (76d) - 15th July 1916
Headquarters, 18th Division
The following table of casualties, showing amendments, names of Officer, and names of men still unaccounted for, is forwarded.
|July 1st and 2nd 1916.|
|Killed||Died of Wounds||Wounded||Missing||pencilled totals|
|7th RWK R.||1||35||-||-||6||136||-||1||7||172|
|55th Trench Mortar Battery||1||1||-||-||-||6||-||-||1||7|
|Total: 43 Officer 1348 Other Ranks (O.R.)|
|Unit||a. Present Fighting Strength||b. Casualties||Total of a. & b.||Remarks|
|Officers||Other Ranks||Officers||Other Ranks||Officers||Other Ranks|
|8th E. Surrey R.||27||1019||-||1||-||1||-||12||-||12||28||1031|
|7th R.W. Kents||24||780||1||10||-||11||24||184||46||254||35||1034||b. 2/Lt J.A. BARNES|
|55th M.Gun Coy||11||170||-||-||-||-||1||4||1||6||11||176|
|55th T.M. Battery||2||45||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||2||45||a. Includes 23 men att. From Battalions|
7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
G/5033 = Hubert Harold Hayesmore [NEWNHAM & ROLVENDEN MEMORIALS] - Killed in Action on 1st July 1916 at 22 years old.
Memorial: Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz.
G/5035 = Frederick George Hayesmore [TENTERDEN & ROLVENDEN MEMORIAL] - Died of Wounds on 2nd July 1916 at 32 years old. The CWGC downloadable certificate gives his age as 30 (Frederick may have misrepresented his age, this wasn't unusual) and his death date as 2nd July 1916. This date also appears on his Effects record and the Victory/War medals record. Curiously, only his 1914-1915 medal record gives the earlier death date of 9th April 1916. A review of the Battalion Diary reveals very few casualties at this time: 20th March saw one Other Rank wounded in subsection Y.3. 25th March one sniper "slightly wounded", also in subsector Y.3. so it is reasonable to accept the 2nd July date is right, tying in with the opening days of the Battle of the Somme.
Memorial: Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 5 D. Personal Effects: £2 13s.3d (and £6 10s. War Gratuity) that went to his mother as sole legatee. "Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hayesmore; husband of S.E. [Sarah Elizabeth] Hayesmore [nee Field, also born in Tenterden], of Hamilton House, Rolvenden, Cranbrook, Kent." On marriage in 1910 they had lived for a while on the High Street, Tenterden.
G/5034 = Louis Arthur Hayesmore [ROLVENDEN MEMORIAL] - Death date "presumed" on 18th November 1916 at 21 years old.
Memorial: Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 5 D.
Private Archibald Sydney Hayesmore: enlisted 18th August 1916 into the 12th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment (Private 21923) where he served until 12th April 1918. He then transferred to the 2nd Battalion London Regiment (GS/82709) from 13th April 1918 to 23rd May 1918. He then transferred (GS/82709) to the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) to see his time out until the close of the war.
Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 6th October 1933.
LATE MR. HAYESMORE.- Mr. Philip James Hayesmore, of St. Philips Cottages, Rolvenden, who died on September 26, aged 55 years, had worked as a gardener for 20 years. At the funeral on Friday the mourners were the widow, Messrs. C.A. Hayesmore, P.A. Hayesmore and J.R. Hayesmore, Mr. and Mrs. B. Hayesmore, M.R. Hayesmore, Mr. and Mrs. A. Hayesmore, and Mr. and Mrs A. Bailey, Mr. Barratt, Mrs. Hardes, Miss W. Hardes, Mrs. Maybourne, Mr. and Mrs. White, Mrs. Burden, Mrs. Collins, Mr. H. Allsop, Mr. J. Archibald, Mr. A. Farris, Mr. J. Parker and Mr. L. Stapley.
Kent & Sussex Courier, 5th July 1918.
RECRUITING TRIBUNAL.- On Wednesday a meeting of the above took place, Mr. W. Nash presiding, and the following appeals being dealt with:- Refused, not to be called up for one month: William Thomas Worsfold (46), Hawkhurst, gardener. Two months temporary exemption: Walter Frederick Young (44), gardener, etc., Sissinghurst. This case was recommended by the Kent War Agricultural Committee. Three months temporary exemption: Herbert James Relf (47), carpenter and builder, Sandhurst; Charles Henry Trotman (45), farm workman, Benenden; Robert William Hayesmore (38), baker, Sissinghurst; John Norris (43), pipe fitter, etc., employed by Mr. J. Lewis, of Bedgebury, Goudhurst; John Richards (41), Hawkhurst, foreman to the Kent County Fencing Company; Matthew Mercer (37), miller’s van driver. [also Previous tribunal hearing: Friday 13th July 1917, Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser. Conditional discharge & Adjourned.]
Friday 27th April 1917. Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser.
WEST KENT APPEAL TRIBUNAL. Albert Henry Hayesmore, 41, married, doughman and baker's roundsman, Sissinghurst (C1); appeal dismissed.
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