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  • Photo of Herbert Grant first published in the Retford Times 07/05/15
Person Details
Ordsall
Herbert was born in 1893 in Ordsall and was the son of Samuel a railway engine driver and Elizabeth Grant (nee Littlewood )of Belvedere Villas. Ollerton Rd., Retford. Samuel and Elizabeth had a large family of eleven children , eight of whom survived up to 1911. In the 1901 census the family were living at 49 Cobwell Street, Ordsall Herbert was aged 8 years. By the 1911 census the family are living at Belvedere Villas, Ollerton Road, living at the address are Samuel and Elizabeth with four of their children , Herbert who is by now aged 18 years and working as a telegraph signal lad for the Great Northern Railway and his 3 younger sisters kate, Fanny and Edith.
24 Apr 1915
22
155092 - CWGC Website
2434
Private
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Herbert enlisted in Retford and served with D Company 1/8th battalion Sherwood foresters (Notts & Derbys) Regiment. His medal cards show that he first entered a theatre of war in France on 2nd March 1915. He was killed in action when the German's mortared his trench killing him and six other men from the Retford area. He is buried in Kemmel Chateaux Military Cemetery, Belgium grave reference E 70 Pte Herbert Grant Retford Times 7 May 1915 Pte Herbert Fisher, a friend of Pte Grant, writing to Mrs Grant says, “ It is with the greatest regret that I write to tell you Bert was killed in the trenches on Saturday about 6.30 pm by a shell. I cannot realise it myself. It is too awful. Bert was on sentry duty at the time and stuck to his post like a man. I expect you will have heard from the War Office by the time this arrives, but the news has to be broken. I saw Bert buried in the Military Cemetery this evening. I cannot write any more. It is too painful.” Another Retford Terrier writes:- “We went into the trenches again on Monday night. The Retford and Newark Companies had a very bad time. You will have heard before this letter reaches you that seven of the Retford fellows were killed and one very badly wounded. What is known as a trench mortar (a kind of shell that is dropped in the trenches) exploded in their midst. I am sorry to say that amongst the killed were young Hinks of Wharton Street and young Grant of Ollerton Road, two young men who G – knows very well. You would also be very sorry to hear of the death of Mr Eddison of Mount Vernon. He was shot while in front of the trench one night putting up some wire entanglements.” Another Retford young man writes:- “I have some bad news for you at Retford. H Randall, Hinks, Johnson, Grant, Husband, Pattison and Worthington were all killed on Saturday the 24th. There are some wounded as well. It was murder for the company. They thought they were all lost. Husband was standing near his brother when he got hit. Some of my mates had to bury them. My God! It is awful to think about.” Private Herbert Grant was a son of Mr S and Mrs Grant of Belvedere, Ollerton Road and was 22 years of age. He was a native of Ordsall and was educated at the Council School. He was the last railway man from Retford to be allowed to enlist last September, before the authorities stopped railway men from joining the colours. He was a point holder on the Great Northern Railway and the youngest son of a large family of railway men, the father been in the service for 36 years. In his last letter Pte Grant wrote:- “Just a few lines to let you know that I am still in the best of health and very pleased to hear that you are all very well at home. It is a beastly job to get a letter off now what with censors and one thing and another. I wish it was all over.” Pte Grant was a fine specimen of manhood being of splendid physique. Pte Herbert Husband was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Husband of Spa Lane and enlisted a year ago. He has three mor brothers and a brother in law serving in His Majesty’s forces. His eldest brother, Geo Wm Husband is with the 8th Sherwood Foresters, Reserve Battalion at Newton Ferry. H. was formerly in the old 4th Notts Volunteers and is a member of the National Reserve. The next brother Albert, is in the 2nd 8th Sherwood Foresters stationed at Luton. He also served in the Notts Volunteers. Fred, 22, is in France with the Territorials. He has served four years in the Terriers and prior to his regiment being mobilised had been employed eight years as a gardener, to Mr R Eddison of Mount Vernon. Deceased’s brother in law, Edward Askew is stationed at South Shields, also with the Foresters.
An article from The Worksop Guardian dated 7th May 1915 reads;- Seven Territorials Killed Retford Territorials have already suffered heavily by the war, the news coming on Friday evening that seven members of the Retford Company of the Sherwood Foresters had been killed on the same day, just before leaving the trenches. The names of the seven are:- Ptes. W Pattison, a well known official and ex-player of the Town Football Club, H Husband, H Grant, H Randall, A Worthington, W Hincks, and W Johnson. Three were employees at the Northern Rubber Works, vis., Pattison, Randall and Worthington and the remainder were connected with the railway service. Some particulars of the sad affair are contained in a letter dated April 26th from Pte Frank Farrand to his parents, Mr and Mrs Farrand, 36 West Street. The letter is as follows:- “Dear Father and Mother, I received your letter on Sunday, the day we came out of the trenches, where we have been for five days. We have had a bit of bad luck this last time, for we have lost seven Retford lads, their names being, Ptes. W Pattison, H Husband, H Grant, H Randall, A Worthington, W Hincks, and W Johnson. I expect you will know by the time this letter reaches you. It is a very sad affair, but they all died like hero’s, every one. It occurred about five o’clock on Saturday night. It (April 26th) had been very quiet all day, and we were getting ready to be relieved, when all of a sudden, the Germans started to shell us, especially with trench mortars, these shells dropping clean into the trench. They blew the parapet down and then the dogs turned a machine gun on that spot. It was awful, I can tell you. But we stuck it, and this afternoon we have been highly praised by General Stuart Wortley. He also said our Company, ‘D’ and ‘B’ Company, behaved magnificently under such heavy shell fire. He also called the officers of the same Companies and eventually congratulated them. He also said next time his dispatch went to Sir John French her would put it all forward, so I think we are starting to make a name for the 8th. We lost a few Retford lads, but we cannot go in to action without having any casualties. You can take it from me, we shall always remember the 24th of April, the day of the final of the English Cup, and the day we lost our pals. We are having a five days’ rest before going in again.” Writing to his parents, Pte Fred Husband gives the following account of his brother’s death:- “Dear Mother and Dad, Just a few lines to let you know poor Herbert was killed last night whilst in action. We were side by side when he was hit. He was killed by a trench mortar, being struck in the chest. I was with him to the last. He did not linger long. It is a wonder any of us are alive to tell the tale. It was a sight I will never forget as long as I live. We had, as near as I could say, 11 killed and nine wounded. It was like hell itself. I myself, was nearly buried alive, but thank God, I was unhurt except for the shock. The scene was terrible. Most of the men waded over the knees in sludge and water to get to safety. The Lance-Corporal over Herbert’s section was killed, and there were only two left out of the ten, and most of them were Retford Lads. In fact we were lucky to have any left at all. I shall have to bear the loss as best I can. Herbert died like a true British soldier, fighting for his King and country. I looked after him all I could. Dear Mother and Dad, bear up and trust in God. I cannot write any more. Goodnight, and may God watch over and guard you from all danger, your loving son, Fred”. Mrs Grant of Velvedere Villas, Ollerton Road, has also received a letter from Pte A Parsons, as follows:- “Dear Mrs Grant, just a line to say how I sympathise with you in your great loss. I am pleased to say your son stuck to his post to the last. He has been laid to rest in the Sherwood Foresters’ burial ground, just behind the firing line. I’m sure his grave will be well looked after whenever we have a possible chance.” Lieut. E C A James also writes a postscript to this letter as follows:- “Dear Mrs Grant, I am taking the liberty of adding a personal note to this letter, as I am so busy that I have not time to write a letter. Your son is buried with all our Retford men in the Soldiers Cemetery. Please accept my deepest sympathy, E C A James, Lieut.” Pte Hincks is an only son and much sympathy is felt for Mr Hincks, an old and respected trader. Pte Hincks was 23 years of age, and had a remarkable escape soon after arriving at the front, being wounded by a bullet which passed through his cap and cut through his hair. Pte Randall, aged 29, had been three years in the Terriers. His parents, who live in Beardsall’s Row, has not yet received any intimation as to his death. Pte Pattison was a member of the Town Football Club Committee and an old player and assistant trainer. He was a nephew of Sergt, Woodward, also a famous player in the town. Another popular footballer and a member of the Beehive Club, Pte Harry Hill, has also been wounded, and is now at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. He was wounded in the back of the head and severely bruised by a shell. A similar obituary is also recorded in the Retford Times dated 7/5/1915 of all seven soldiers
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo of Herbert Grant first published in the Retford Times 07/05/15
    Herbert Grant - Photo of Herbert Grant first published in the Retford Times 07/05/15
  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, France . Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Herbert Grant - Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, France . Courtesy of Murray Biddle