HEBRON James William 1889 – 1915


18078 Private James William Hebron, 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment died of wounds 21 October 1915, aged 26.  He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France[1] and commemorated on Witton Park war memorials.

Family Details

James William Hebron was born in 1889 [2] at Witton Park, the son of Thomas and Eliza Hebron.  There were at least 7 children, all born at Witton Park:[3]

  • Thomas Robert bc.1879
  • Ralph bc.1880
  • Mary Ann bc.1882
  • Hannah bc.1884
  • John bc.1887
  • James William born 1889
  • Ethel Jane bc.1892

In 1891, the family lived at Albion Terrace, Witton Park where Thomas was employed as a labourer.[4]  By 1901, the family still lived at Albion Street but 49 years old Thomas now worked as a groom.  Thomas junior, Ralph and John all worked as labourers in a, “pipe yard”. [5] By 1911, of the children, only 24 years old John and 21 years old James lived with their parents at Albion Street.  Both worked as, “brick makers”.  Elizabeth Annie Hebron Thompson and Norman Thompson, aged 9 and 7 respectively, Thomas and Elizabeth’s grandchildren, were also at the family home.  Thomas, 58 years old, was out of work.[6]

Military Details[7]

James Hebron enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment, otherwise known as the Green Howards but at the time, was known as Alexandra, The Princes of Wales’ Own, The Yorkshire Regiment.  He was given the service number 18078 and joined the 2nd Battalion.  It was a Regular Army unit based at Guernsey at the outbreak of war.  It returned to England and 6 October 1914, landed at Zeebrugge.  It came under the orders of the 21st Brigade, 7th Division.  Infantry battalions in the 21 Brigade were:[8]

  • 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment
  • 2nd Yorkshire Regiment
  • 2nd Bn., Royal Scots Fusiliers
  • 2nd Bn., Wiltshire Regiment
  • 1/4th Bn., Cameron Highlanders from 8 April – 20 December 1915

The 7th Division was involved in the First Battle of Ypres throughout October 1914 and the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, the Battle of Aubers 9 May, the Battle of Festubert 15-25 May and the Second Action of Givenchy 15-16 June 1915.

2 May 1915: Private J.W. Hebron entered France [9] as a draft.  During the month, the battalion received drafts of 202 men but these remained with the transport in the rear and did not join HQ at Gonnehem until 20 May.  He may not have seen action at Festubert, possibly did so at Givenchy. 

The next major engagement was the Battle of Loos, 25 September to 8 October and it seems highly likely that he saw action here.  The division took part in the initial assault north of Vermelles-Hulluch road facing the Hulluch quarries, a series of strongpoints.  Suffering badly from British poison gas and badly cut up by German machine gun fire and artillery, the division nevertheless, seized the quarries and only failed to take the German Third Line due to the weakness of the men who got through.  According to the Regiment’s historian, casualties sustained by 2/YR between 25 September and 1 October were heavy:[10]

  • Killed or died of wounds: 6 Officers and 32 Other Ranks   
  • Wounded: 3 officers and 187 men
  • Wounded and missing: 5 officers and 7 men
  • Missing: 2 officers and 96 other ranks.

Later research, recorded the total as 6 Officers and 67 Other Ranks killed or died of wounds during the period. [11]

During the remainder of the year, the battalion was not engaged in any important action.[12]  The Battalion War Diary reported the following:[13] 

  • 3 October:  It was at le Preol then moved to support trenches near Cambrin and worked, repairing communication trenches, clearing derelict equipment and burying the dead.  From the 9th, they were employed as carrying parties – gas canisters for an impending attack and 50 men were temporarily attached to the 173rd Tunnelling Company RE. 
  • 11 October: in the trenches, the men were troubled by German rifle grenades and there were 2 killed and 5 wounded.
  • 13 October: there was a heavy exchange of shell fire which resulted in 2 killed and 6 wounded.
  • 14 October: the battalion was relieved, 1 Officer and 3 Other Ranks were wounded. They returned to billets at Essars, then Gonnehem, Manqueville and then to Hinges on the 21st October.

Later research confirms that during the month of October, there were 10 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds including Private J.W. Hebron on the 21st.[14]  It is likely that he was one of the wounded on the 14th October and was transported to one of the main hospitals at Rouen for treatment.  It is evident that he succumbed to his wounds. 

Awards and Medals

Private J.W. Hebron was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War medals.[15]


Burial [16]

Private J.W. Hebron died 21 October 1915 and is buried at grave reference A.13.22, St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France.  During the Great War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the outskirts of Rouen.  A base supply and 3rd Echelon GHQ were established in the city.  There were 8 general hospitals, 5 stationary hospitals, 1 British Red Cross, 1 labour hospital and No. 2 Convalescent Depot.


James Hebron’s father Thomas and his sister Mary Ann Thompson received his effects.[17] James’ mother, Mrs. Eliza Hebron, then living at 71 Low Albion Street, Witton Park was the claimant of his pension.  A note records that the claimant died 6 July 1918.[18]


James Hebron was born and raised at Witton Park.  He worked as a labourer at the pipe works and brick works.  He enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment and entered France in May 1915.  It is highly likely that he saw action at the Battle of Loos in late September 1915.  He probably survived this engagement and as the battalion took up positions in support trenches in the Cambrian area to the north, came under attack from enemy positions.  The usual form of trench violence was shell fire, rifle grenades and sniping.  He sustained injuries and died of wounds 21 October 1915, aged 26.  He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.185 Auckland 1889 Q3

[3] 1891, 1901 & 1911 census

[4] 1891 census

[5] 1901 census

[6] 1911 census

[7] The service record of Private J.W. Hebron has not been researched. 

[8] https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/alexandra-princess-of-waless-own-yorkshire-regiment-green-howards/ and https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/7th-division/

[9] Medal Roll card index

[10] “The Green Howards in the Great War 1914-1919” 1926 H.C Wylly p.69

[11] Officers and Soldiers Died in the Great War

[12] Wylly p.70

[13] War Diary, 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment October 1915.

[14] ODGW & SDGW

[15] Medal Roll card index, Roll of Individuals entitled to the 1914-15 Star dated 17 October 1919 and Roll for V & BW medals dated 16 April 1920

[16] CWGC

[17] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 Record No.215294

[18] Dependant’s Pension card index