Hebden T

RALPH HEBDON (1891 – 1916)

2211 Corporal Ralph Hebdon 1/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 5 November 1916.  He was about 26 years old and is buried at Warlencourt British Cemetery, France [1] and commemorated on the St. Helens Colliery Memorial Cottages.

Family Details

 Ralph Hebdon was born 1891[2] at Ettersgill near Middleton in Teesdale. He was 4 months old at the time of the 1891 census and lived with his widowed grandmother Elizabeth Bell, her daughter Margaret Ann Hebdon and son, Leonard Hebdon at Low Beck Head, Forest & Frith, Teesdale. [3]  In 1901 he lived with his grandmother, at the same house with her daughter Elizabeth, her son Leonard and another grandson Ernest aged 4. [4] By 1911, 20 year old Ralph lived at Fylands Bridge, Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland lodging with his aunt and uncle, Sarah and Michael Bewsher and cousin Thomas.  Ralph worked as a coal miner (putter). [5]

By 1901, Ernest lived at Newbiggin near Middleton in Teesdale with his mother Elizabeth Hebdon and his uncle Leonard. [6]  Ernest and Ralph were cousins.[7]  Ernest served with 1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers and was killed in action 26 October 1917. [8]

Service Record

The service record of Corporal Ralph Hebdon has not been researched but he enlisted at Bishop Auckland and was given the regimental number 2211.  He joined the 1/6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry [9] which was his local Territorial Force.  The battalion entered France 19 April 1915. [10]

The 1/6th Battalion were formed in Bishop Auckland in August 1914 as part of the Durham Light Infantry Brigade, Northumbrian Division and in May 1915 became the 151st Brigade of the 50th Division. The Division moved to France 16 April 1915 and served with distinction on the Western Front throughout the war. Other battalions were:

  • 1/7 Bn., Durham Light Infantry (DLI)
  • 1/8 Bn., DLI
  • 1/9 Bn., DLI
  • 1/5 Bn., the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment joined June 1915

Following heavy casualties in June 1915 the battalion merged with the 1/8th to become the 6/8th then it returned to its original identity 11 August 1915 and was then joined by:

  • 1/5th (Cumberland) Battalion, the Border Regiment joined December 1915
  • 151st Machine Gun Company formed 6 February 1916
  • 150th Trench Mortar Battery formed 18 June 1916

Until the death of Private R. Hebdon, the Division took part in the following engagements:

  • The Second Battle of Ypres 1915
  • The Battle of the Somme 1 July – 18 November 1916 including:
  • The Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15 – 22 September
  • The Battle of Morval 25 – 28 September
  • The Battle of Le Transloy 1 – 18 October

  The Battle of the Somme 1 July – 18 November 1916 [11]

 The Battle of the Somme was viewed as a breakthrough battle, as a means of getting through the formidable German trench lines and into a war of movement and decision.  Political considerations and the demands of the French High Command influenced the timing of the battle.  They demanded British diversionary action to occupy the German Army to relieve the hard pressed French troops at Verdun, to the south.

General Sir Douglas Haig, appointed Commander-in-Chief in December 1915, was responsible for the overall conduct of British Army operations in France and Belgium.  This action was to be the British Army’s first major offensive on the Western Front in 1916 and it was entrusted to General Rawlinson’s Fourth Army to deliver the resounding victory.  The British Army included thousands of citizen volunteers, keen to take part in what was expected to be a great victory.

The main line of assault ran nearly 14 miles from Maricourt in the south to Serre to the north, with a diversionary attack at Gommecourt 2 miles further to the north.  The first objective was to establish a new advanced line on the Montauban to Pozieres Ridge.

The first day was preceded by a week-long artillery bombardment of the German positions.  Just prior to zero-hour, the storm of British shells increased and merged with huge mine explosions to herald the infantry attack.  At 7.30am 1 July 1916 on a clear midsummer’s morning the British Infantry emerged from their trenches and advanced in extended lines at a slow steady pace over the grassy expanse of a No Man’s Land.  They were met with a hail of machine gun fire and rifle fire from the surviving German defenders.  Accurate German artillery barrages smashed into the infantry in No Man’s Land and the crowded assembly trenches – the British suffered enormous casualties:

  • Officers killed 993
  • Other Ranks killed: 18,247
  • Total Killed: 19,240
  • Total casualties (killed, wounded and missing): 57,470

In popular imagination, the title, “Battle of the Somme” has become a byword for military disaster.  In the calamitous opening 24 hours the British Army suffered its highest number of casualties in a single day.  The loss of great numbers of men from the same towns and villages had a profound impact on those at home. The first day was an abject failure and the following weeks and months of conflict assumed the nature of wearing-down warfare, a war of attrition, by the end of which both the attackers and defenders were totally exhausted.

The Battle of the Somme can be broken down into 12 offensive operations:

  • Albert: 1 – 13 July
  • Bazantin Ridge: 14 – 17 July
  • Delville Wood: 15 July – 13 September
  • Pozieres Ridge: 15 July – 3 September
  • Guillemont: 23 July – 3 September
  • Ginchy: 9 September
  • Courcelette: 15 – 22 September
  • Morval: 25 – 28 September
  • Thiepval: 25 – 28 September
  • Le Transloy: 1 – 18 October
  • Ancre Heights: 1 October – 11 November
  • Ancre: 13 – 18 November

Adverse weather conditions i.e. the autumn rains and early winter sleet and snow turned the battlefield into morass of mud.  Such intolerable physical conditions helped to bring to an end Allied offensive operations after four and a half months of slaughter.  The fighting brought no significant breakthrough.  Territorial gain was a strip of land approximately 20 miles wide by 6 miles deep, at enormous cost.  British and Commonwealth forces were calculated to have 419,654 casualties (dead, wounded and missing) of which some 131,000 were dead.  French casualties amounted to 204,253.  German casualties were estimated between 450,000 to 600,000. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

The 1/6 DLI was to see further action at Butte de Warlencourt, an ancient burial mound, located between the towns of Albert and Bapaume in northern France.  Bapaume was occupied by German troops. The British front line had advanced from a few miles north east of Albert in the direction of Bapaume to the feature known as the Butte de Warlencourt which lay a few miles to the south west of Bapaume.  The Butte stood about 50 feet higher than the surrounding land and in theory provided a useful observation point for the Germans particularly towards High Wood and Martinpuich.  The Butte was honeycombed with tunnels and dugouts which provided shelter for the German garrison.  It had already resisted numerous British attacks over the previous month, October.

3 November, the 151st (Durham) Brigade moved into line as part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division.  The 151st comprised:

  • 1/5th Bn., Border Regiment
  • 1/6th Bn., DLI
  • 1/8th Bn., DLI
  • 1/9th Bn., DLI

The 3 DLI Battalions took over the front line positions and the 1/5 Borders came up behind them as the reserve battalion.

The 1/6 DLI was a battalion recruited mainly in Bishop Auckland and the upper valley of the river Wear, who to the rest of the DLI were known as the “black-buttoned bastards”.  The 1/6 was in the centre of the line.  The 1/8 was to the right and the 1/9, known as the “Gateshead Ghurkas” was to the left.  Together they would attack the Butte 5 November 1916.  The 1/9 was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Roland Bradford, a remarkable 24 years old man.  His father, George Bradford was manager of Henry Stobart & Co. Ltd. collieries in the Bishop Auckland area and West Carterthorne Coal Co. He and his family lived at Carwood Cottage, Witton Park until 1894.  The young Roland Bradford was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Darlington before attending Epsom College, Surrey then pursuing an Army career with the DLI.

It is recorded that:

“Under Roland, the 9th became one of the finest battalions in the British Army.  Known for its “esprit de corps”, much of the battalion’s efficiency and camaraderie can be traced to Roland’s leadership and the keen interest he took in the well being of his men.”

The 1/9 DLI was charged with capturing the Butte and a quarry beside its west face.  The 1/6 and 1/8 DLI were to seize the Gird Trench and Gird Support Trenches.  The 28th Australian Division was to attack alongside the 8/DLI.  In support, to the right were the 1/4 Northumberland Fusiliers, to the left, the 1/6 N.Fs. and the 1/5 Border Regiment were in reserve. Zero hour was set for 09.10 Sunday, 5 November.

The Butte de Warlencourt: a summary

The 50th Division attacked with 1/8 DLI (151 Brigade) on the right.  The men had to pull one another out of the mud before they could start.  They almost reached the German front line but were stopped by machine gun fire and gradually fell back during the day.  The 1/6 DLI suffered a similar fate except on the left where they linked with 1/9 DLI in the line.  The 1/9 DLI went through 2 lines of German trenches, reached the Butte and established a post on the Bapaume road, some entering the Warlencourt line.  But these advanced posts were forced back and at 10.00pm the enemy were still holding the quarry and 500 yards of the German front line.  By midnight the Durham battalions had been forced back to their own lines.

The Durham Battalions: in action [12]

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the companies moved forward to man the front line trench.  The weather was dreadful – heavy rain, a howling gale, it was bitterly cold and there were rumours that men had drowned in the mud.  Owing to the boggy ground, progress was extremely slow.  The trench was in a deplorable condition and the men had to march along the parados to reach their allocated places.  Unfortunately, they were in full view of the enemy – shell, machine gun and rifle fire were thrown at them.

“The enemy kept up a ceaseless bombardment of our trenches in conjunction with the merciless rain and cold.”

Lance Corporal Harry Cruddace, 1/6 DLI

As Zero Hour struck, all the available artillery laid down a barrage some 200 yards in front of the jumping off line.

“Nothing but HE was used.  We began with a stationary barrage of four minutes whilst the infantry were getting out of their trenches and thereafter the creeping barrage was lifted in range 50 yards every minute and firing continued at the rate of 4 rounds per minute.”

Brigadier General Hugh Tudor, Commander Royal Artillery, 9th Division.

The Durham battalions went over the top with mud high above their knees, wading, slipping, stumbling and falling forward, laden with the usual infantry equipment necessary for such an attack (rifle, packs, grenades, entrenching tool, pick, Lewis gun drums).  It was worse than they could ever have imagined.

“The officers’ whistles sounded the advance.  Immediately, the first wave mounted the trench and made off in the direction of the enemy trenches.  They were met by terrific and annihilating fire and crumpled up like snow in summer.  The second wave was by this time on its way.  I was in that wave and placed my gun sections in single file to make a less target.  The enemy barrage was doing enormous damage and our fighting strength was fast diminishing.”

Lance Corporal Harry Cruddace, 1/6 DLI

Clearly, the Germans were not caught by surprise and with such a narrow front attack they could concentrate all their machine gun fire on a devastating onslaught on the hapless Durhams.  The British artillery failed to eliminate the German batteries.  They opened up a barrage of shells all along the sector.  They succeeded in isolating the British front line and cut off the assaulting troops from any reserves.  The Durhams were isolated and fought the battle on their own.

On the right the 1/8 DLI was badly hit by a combination of both German shell fire and British shells dropping short.  They were even hit from behind by their own long range machine gun barrage that was meant to be supporting them.  Many men had difficulty getting out of the trench and needed assistance from their mates – all under heavy fire.  Despite this, the left of the line managed to get within 30 yards of the Butte before they were overwhelmed.  The few survivors fell back in disarray to their original front line.

Meanwhile, the men of the 1/6 DLI were dying one by one as they found themselves marooned between the lines:

  “By this time the whole line was held up and Lieutenant Ludgate ordered me to proceed and engage the enemy machine guns, a task almost impossible.  Out of my 2 sections of fourteen men there were two of us left – a No. 1 on the gun by the name of Private Allen and myself.  I pushed on with one gun and a quantity of ammunition to about 30 yards from the German trench and took up position in a shell hole.  We opened fire on the opposing troops who formed an excellent target….After firing one or two magazines, the enemy found us with a machine gun and succeeded in wounding my No. 1 in 4 places down his left side….I carried on until want of ammunition forced me to withdraw to our troops in the rear…we set about organising and consolidating in preparation for a counter attack from the enemy.” 

Lance Corporal Harry Cruddace, 1/6 DLI

The wounded were left scattered around No Man’s Land, marooned in shell holes and slowly sinking down.  Many who were too weak to save themselves must have slowly drowned.

The only success came on the left where the 1/9 DLI directly faced the Butte.  Why this should have been is unclear but they swept up and over the Butte and by 10.00 they grabbed most of the low mound and the surrounding trenches, including the German front line trench, Gird trench.  The first German counter attack commenced at about 12.00.  Bombing attacks then hand to hand fighting took place.  The 1/9 DLI was entirely cut off from any reinforcements by the accurate German artillery fire and well directed machine gun fire.  As their numbers gradually dwindled, they fell back from their advanced position around the Butte to Butte Alley to where the 1/6 DLI had its bloc.  Despite the desperate need for assistance, they hung on until 18.00 when the enemy launched another determined counter attack preceded by a terrific bombardment.  Yet more German reinforcements appeared, hand to hand fighting and bayonet charges bit deep, the exhausted Durham men had been fighting all day with no respite.  Retreat had become inevitable and the precious gains of the morning were lost to the German counter attack.

“At about 11 pm battalions of Prussians delivered a fresh counter attack.  They came in great force from our front and also worked round from both flanks.  Our men were overwhelmed.  Many died fighting, others were compelled to surrender.  It was only a handful of men who found there way back to Maxwell Trench and they were completely exhausted by their great efforts and the strain of the fighting.”

Lieutenant Colonel Roland Bradford, 1/9 DLI

Eventually the survivors fell back across No Man’s Land and the hard pressing Germans were soon threatening even the jumping off positions of the British front line.  Back in the front line the Durhams re-joined their comrades of the 1/6th and the 1/8th Battalions who had fallen back hours before.

“The expected happened and the enemy counter attacked under the cover of darkness but we staved off the assault at a great price.  Despite our weakened condition we held on till the night of 6th November.”

Lance Corporal Harry Cruddace, 1/6 DLI

After hard fighting, the Germans were held back and so, after a day of drama and death, the situation was exactly as it had been before they started.  On the evening of 6th November, they were relieved by the 1/5 DLI who formed part of the 150th Brigade.

“Snag Trench was full of mud and water with bodies sticking out all along.  It is in fact no exaggeration when I say that in our part we had to tread from body to body to get past.  Dead from all regiments were there, including our division, South Africans and Jocks of the 9th Division and hands, arms and legs were sticking out of parados and parapet where the dead had been hastily buried.”

Lieutenant Cuthbert Marley, 1/5 DLI

The 6/DLI War Diary (Vol. 20 renumbered Vol.17) contains the following account: [13]

IN THE TRENCHES

5.11.16

Companies moved into battle positions about dawn, being rather late in getting onto position and it was daylight before “Z” Company arrived.

9.10AM Zero hour.  Advance started well but got held up by machine gun and rifle fire before getting very far.

10AM “W” Company sent up on right to reinforce X Company.

11.35AM Battalion placed under command of Col. Bradford of 9th Durham Light Infantry in order to ensure safety of his right flank.

11.50AM 2ndLt G. W Robson ordered to bring up his raiding party and establish a double block on the right of the Battalion in the GIRD LINE.

1210PM 2LtMcVicker went out with Private Parker and Private Dowson to reconnoitre

12.30PM Commanding Officer (Major A.E. Ebworth) went to MAXWELL TRENCH and sent up men remaining there to reinforce companies in front.

4.20PM Sergeant Young reported at Headquarters with remainder of raiding party, 2Lt. G.W. Robson having been killed.  This party were given flare lights to be taken to the QUARRY.

8PM 2Lt. K.B. Stuart and 2Lt. R.H.C. Wharrier collected about 150 men from MAXWELL TRENCH and endeavouring to get to THE BUTTE to reinforce 9th Durham Light Infantry, 2Lt. K.B. Stuart was killed.

11PM German counter attack forced 9th Durham Light Infantry to retire from ground gained.

6.11.16

1AM Orders to resume attack at 8AM cancelled.

10AM Headquarters moved back to normal position.  During the night 6th/7th Battalion was relieved by 5th Durham Light Infantry and moved back to the old camp at MEMETZ WOOD

Casualties during the period in the front line

Officers

Killed – 2/Lt. K.B. Stuart, 2/Lt G.W. Robson, 2/Lt A.S. Robson

Wounded – 2/Lt. Ludgate, 2/Lt Tyerman, 2/Lt R.H. Stewart, Lt. G. Corbett, 2/Lt. T. Burton

Missing – 2/Lt. H. Fell, 2/Lt. Applegarth, 2/Lt. A.S. Ritman

Casualties amongst the ranks – approximately 150

It has since been estimated that this action, contributed the following numbers of casualties: [14]

The 1/6th Battalion DLI

  • 11 officers killed, wounded or missing
  • 34 other ranks dead
  • 114 wounded
  • 111 missing including Corporal George T. Cox

The 1/8th Battalion DLI

  • 9 officers killed, wounded or missing
  • 38 other ranks dead
  • 100 wounded
  • 83 missing

The 1/9th Battalion DLI

  • 17officers killed, wounded or missing
  • 30 other ranks dead
  • 250 wounded
  • 111 missing

The 151st Machine Gun Company

  • 3 dead
  • 20 wounded
  • 8 missing

It should be noted that “missing” usually meant dead or POWs and some of the wounded would die.  There are 10 officers and 264 other ranks of the above DLI Battalions with the 5 November 1916 recorded as their date of death. [15]  With almost 1000 casualties, misery was brought to many Durham homes.  2211 Corporal Ralph Hebdon 1/6 DLI was killed in action 5 November 1916.

Some details local men to be killed that day are given below and no doubt in such close communities these soldiers were known to each other. [16]

  • 1672 Private Alfred Brown, 1/6 DLI, born in Evenwood, enlisted at Staindrop.  He is buried in Warlencourt British Cemetery, grave ref. VIII. B.7 and is commemorated on the war memorial in St. Mary’s Parish Church, Staindrop.
  • 3429 Private Fred Brunskill, 1/6 DLI, of High Etherley, enlisted Bishop Auckland and buried at Warlencourt British Cemetery, grave ref, VIII.B.11 and commemorated on Etherley War Memorial.
  • 2264 Corporal George Henry Smith, 1/6 DLI, born Barnard Castle, enlisted Bishop Auckland – no known grave and commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and Barnard Castle War Memorial.
  • 3124 Private Robert Wilson, 1/6 DLI, of West Auckland, enlisted Bishop Auckland – no known grave and commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and West Auckland War Memorial.
  • 3472 Corporal George Thomas Cox, 1/6 DLI of Evenwood – no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and Evenwood War Memorial

So why had the attack failed?  Perhaps Brigadier General Hugh Tudor and Lieutenant Colonel Roland Bradford had the answers.

“The attack is fixed for tomorrow, in spite of the weather.  It seems rather hopeless expecting infantry to attack with any success in this mud.  The trench mortars have only their muzzles showing above it.  Yesterday we had 2 barrages by brigades.  They seemed fairly good but I should like more guns.  To be effective, a barrage should be an 18-pounder to every 7 yards of enemy front and the guns should be capable of firing 4 rounds a minute at least to start with, without the recuperator springs giving out.”  

Brigadier General Hugh Tudor, Commander Royal Artillery, 9th Division

 “There were many reasons why the 9th DLI was unable to hold its ground.  The failure of the troops on the right to reach their objectives and the fact that the division on our left was not attacking caused both flanks of the battalion to be in the air.  The positions to be held were very much exposed and the Germans could see all our trenches and control their fire accordingly.  It was a local attack and the enemy was able to concentrate his guns onto a small portion of our line.  The ground was a sea of mud and it was almost impossible to consolidate our posts.  The terribly intense German barrages and the difficult nature of the ground prevented reinforcements from being sent up to help the 9th DLI.  Four hundred yards north of the Butte the enemy had a steep bank behind which they were able to assemble without being molested.  The terrain was very favourable to a German counter-attack.” 

Lieutenant Colonel Roland Bradford, 1/9 DLI

Clearly, the contention was that they had not failed rather they had no chance of success given the shortcomings of the British artillery barrage, a narrow fronted attack against superior forces and appalling weather conditions.  With the benefit of hindsight, it is generally agreed that:

  • The possession of the Butte was not a major asset to the enemy
  • From the British trenches it was possible to prevent the Germans from using it as an observation point.
  • In any case, the Butte would have been of little use as an observation point
  • The Butte had become an obsession
  • The newspapers talked about “the Miniature Gibraltar” so it had to be taken

It was a local operation, so costly and rarely worthwhile.  Sadly, actions like the attack of the 151st Brigade on the Butte de Warlencourt had no real importance within the context of the Somme offensive.  This kind of attack achieved nothing but swollen casualty lists.    Any change in tactics would be too late for the gallant Durham men.

Burial

2211 Corporal Ralph Hebdon is buried in Warlencourt British Cemetery, grave ref. VIII.B.6. [17]

 Commemorations

 Butte de Warlencourt Memorial:

The Western Front Association erected a Memorial to those who fell in the capture of the Butte de Warlencourt.  The Butte is now clad with trees and the Memorial is positioned to the east on the high ground in a small clearing overlooking the battleground.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Warlencourt Cemetery is located about a kilometre to the north, visible from the Memorial and here lie other souls who lost their lives in actions about that time.

Durham Cathedral: The Durham Light Infantry Chapel: 

The First World War took a terrible toll on the DLI with more than 12,600 dead and thousands wounded.  The Regiment was such a part of county life that there was hardly a family that hadn’t suffered.  In 1922, the Regiment’s officers and the Cathedral Chapter resolved to create a memorial chapel in the south transept.  The Bishop of Durham, Hensley Henson dedicated the Chapel 20 October 1923.

Durham Cathedral: The Wooden Cross:

The cross, to commemorate those who had fallen, was made and erected by Regimental Pioneers of the 9th Battalion using what scrap wood, ration and munitions boxes they could find.  Another 2 smaller crosses were erected to commemorate the 6th and 8th Battalions and they stood together on the Butte de Warlencourt battlefield until they were removed in 1926.  In February 1927, the large cross was then placed in the DLI Chapel and the other crosses were placed in St. Andrew’s Church, South Church, Bishop Auckland and the St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s Church, Chester-le-Street.

St. Andrew’s Church, South Church, Bishop Auckland: The Wooden Cross 

The cross was brought to St. Andrew’s and placed in the chapel 26 June 1927.  It is inscribed:

“D.L.I. in Remembrance of The Gallant Officers, N.C.O.’s & Men of the 6th Battn. The Durham Light Infantry who fell in the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt Nov. 5th & 6th 1916.”

 A brass tablet records:

“This wooden Memorial Cross of the 6th Bn. The Durham Light Infantry was originally erected on the summit of the Butte be Warlencourt in the Department of the Somme, France immediately after the severe attack which they made there on the 5th and 6th days of November 1916.  The Cross with its plinth was prepared and constructed by the Pioneers of the unit under war conditions from material which was, it is believed, supplied by the Royal Engineers.  The Memorial remained where it was erected for nearly 10 years exposed to all the varying climatic conditions of Northern France until the Autumn of 1926 when at the request of the unit it was brought to England and placed in the Church on 26th June 1927”

 The St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages:  4 cottages built near the Colliery Institute, St. Helen’s Auckland constitute the local war memorial.  2 were erected (at a cost of £4,200) by Messrs. Pease & Partners, owners of the colliery and 2 by subscriptions of the men employed there.  The formal opening took place Saturday 12 November 1921.  Mr. F. Chapman presided and mentioned that the men employed at the colliery had subscribed no less than £2,600 for the benefit of the wives of soldiers during the war and since and were continuing the fund for the benefit of the widows and children.  Mrs. R.A. Pease, Richmond and Mr. M.H. Kellett, Chilton, formerly manager of the colliery declared the respective pairs of houses open.  Memorial tablets on the front of each pair of houses bear the names of the fallen and these tablets were unveiled by Mr. J.E. Brown-Humes.  Mr. James Robson President of the Durham Miners’ Association made a few remarks.[18]

The tablet on the Memorial Cottage is inscribed “T. Hebden” but since Ralph lived at Tindale Crescent and worked as a coal miner and there are no other individuals with the name spelt “Hebden” and the initial “T” living in the locality then it is assumed with that this Ralph Hebdon is the correct serviceman.

 In Memoriam [19]

“In loving memory of Corp. Ralph Wm. Hebdon, 6/DLI of Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland, who fell in action in France on November 5th 1916, age 26 years.

We often sit and think of him

His name we often call

Yet there’s nothing left to answer

But his photo on the wall

It may be a soldier’s honour

At his country’s call to fall

But we cannot think of glory

Without the sorrow it caused us all

 Ever remembered by his Aunt Lizzie, Uncle Leonard and cousin Ernest ay Newbiggin

References

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales BMD Birth Index Teesdale Vol.10a p.272 Q1 1891

[3] 1891 census

[4] 1901 census

[5] 1911 census

[6] 1911 census

[7] Teesdale Mercury 7 November 1917: In Memoriam

[8] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[9] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[10] Medal Roll card index

[11] Various sources including http://www.1914-1918.net, CWGC, Peter Hart “The Somme”, Keegan “The First World War” &“The Gateshead Gurkhas: a history of the 9th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry 1859-1967” H. Moses (2001)

[12] “The 6th Battalion DLI in the Great War” Capt. Ainsworth & “The Faithfull Sixth” H. Moses

[13] The 6/DLI War Diary (Vol. 20 renumbered Vol.17

[14] “The Somme” P. Hart

[15] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[16] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[17] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[18] Darlington & Stockton Times (North) 19 November 1921 and http://www.newmp.org.uk

[19] Teesdale Mercury 7 November 1917

Photographs:

HEBDON R. photo

HEBDON R. photo

HEBDON R. Headstone

HEBDON R.
Headstone

 

HEBDON R Medal Roll

HEBDON R
Medal Roll

One thought on “Hebden T

  1. Pingback: ST.HELEN’S | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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