RACE Henry B. 1892 – 1917

HENRY B. RACE 1892 – 1917

17752 Lance Serjeant Henry Buckland Race, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 22 October 1917, aged 25.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France[1] and the Escomb War Memorial.

Family Details

Henry Buckland Race was born 1892 at Camberwell, London, the son of Thomas and Francis Race.  There were 3 children:

  • Henry Buckland bc.1892 at Camberwell, London
  • Clare Rebecca bc.1896 at Walworth, London
  • Frances Julia bc.1900 at Camberwell, London

In 1901, the family lived at Camberwell, London where 38 years old Thomas (born in Durham) worked as a, “cheesemongers’ warehouseman”.[2]  By 1911, the family lived at Bankfoot, Escomb where Thomas worked as coal miner (stoneman, shot-firer) and 19 years old Thomas worked as a coal miner (putter).[3] At a later date, the family lived at 11 South Church Road, Bishop Auckland.[4]

Military Details

5 September 1914, Henry B. Race, aged 22 years 5 months attested into the 13th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry (13/DLI) and received the service number 17752.[5] 

DLI Cap Badge

7 September 1914: Medical examination recorded that he stood 5’5¼” tall, weighed 126 lbs, had a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.  His religion was C of E.  He was considered fit for the Army.[6] 

The 13th (Service) Battalion was formed in September 1914 as part of K3 Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of 68th Brigade 23rd Division.[7]  The 68th Brigade comprised the following units:[8]

  • 10th (Service) Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 11th (Service) Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 12th (Service) Bn., the Durham Light Infantry
  • 13th (Service) Bn., the Durham Light Infantry
  • 68th Machine Gun Company joined March 1916
  • 68th Trench Mortar Battery formed June 1916

The 23rd Division landed in France between 21 and 26 August 1915, [9] Lance Corporal H.B. Race entered France 25 August 1915. [10]  The Division took part in the following engagements during the Battle of the Somme, 1916:[11]

  • 1 – 13 July: The Battle of Albert
  • 14 – 17 July: The Battle of Bazentin Ridge
  • 23 July – 3 September: The Battle of Pozieres
  • 15 – 22 September: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette
  • 25 – 28 September: The Battle of Morval
  • 1 – 18 October: The Battle of Le Transloy

Lance Corporal H.B. Race’s service was as follows: [12] 

  • 27 July 1915: appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid)
  • 10 August 1915: Lance Corporal (paid)
  • 25 August 1915: entered France[13]
  • 1 September 1915: deprived of Lance stripe (qualification – machine gunner)
  • 28 July 1916: Wounded – gunshot wound shoulder, side and right leg [14]
  • 29 July 1916:  to Casualty Clearance Station (CCS) and medical facilities via Rouen and hospital ship to Belfast Hospital, 4 August to 1 September 1916

The fighting was around Munster Trench, near Pozieres.  The 13/DLI War Diary [15] reports that:

26 July, at 8pm, the battalion relieved 2/Royal Munster Fusiliers in the support trenches at Contalmaison.  The Australian Division was on the left and the 9th Bn., York and Lancs was on the right.  Casualties – OR 4 wounded.  

27 July, the enemy bombarded the front line and Contalmaison.  13/DLI relieved 10th Northumberland Fusiliers and there was fighting in Munster Alley which resulting casualties Lt. G.S. Kaye-Butterworth wounded, 10 ORs wounded.

28 July, Lt. Sauerbeck pushed up Munster Alley, consolidated the position by forming a block but due to enemy bombing was forced back and he was wounded in the process.  2/Lt. O’Callaghan, CSM Morton and Sgt. Carling with a Lewis rifle, kept back the enemy and they abandoned the attack.  The position was advanced 10 yards.  The Australians attacked on the left and the Germans commenced a heavy bombardment.  13/DLI was relieved by 10th West Riding.  Casualties were reported as 5 Officers wounded, ORs – 7 killed, 32 wounded (plus 1 at duty, 2 self-inflicted accidental & 5 shell shock), 2 missing  

It is likely that Private H.B. Race was wounded in this action and his injury was so severe that it needed treatment in the UK at Belfast Hospital.  Later research records that between 26 and 30 July, 13/DLI lost 10 Other Ranks, killed in action or died of wounds (all on the 28th).[16]

10 December 1916, Private H.B. Race returned to France and was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry (2/DLI).  It was a regular army unit and came under the orders of the 18th Brigade, 6th Division. 10 September 1914, the Division landed at St. Nazaire and proceeded to the Western Front where it remained throughout the war.  By 1917, the 18th Brigade comprised:

  • 1st Battalion, the West Yorkshires
  • 11th (Service) Battalion, the Essex
  • 2nd Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry
  • 14th (Service) Battalion, the DLI
  • 18th Brigade Machine Gun Company formed February 1916
  • 18th Trench Mortar Battery joined April 1916

Private H.B. Race was probably in the party of 220 men of reinforcements who arrived on the 14th December 1916.  The battalion moved to billets at Annequin then into the trenches at Cambrin.[17]  Over the winter of 1916 into the spring of 1917, the 6th Division occupied positions at the La Bassee sector and on the Loos Salient.  Private H.B. Race’s service was as follows:

  • 10 December 1916: Posted to BEF (France)
  • 14 December 1916: He was transferred to the 2/DLI
  • 10 January 1917: appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid)
  • 9 February 1917: Lance Corporal (paid)
  • 16 April 1917: promoted Corporal
  • 15 to 22 June 1917: to 17 Field Ambulance (scabies) [18]
  • 1 July 1917: appointed Lance Sergeant (paid)
  • 13 July 1917: Wounded at duty – gunshot wound (GSW) right arm to Field Ambulance
  • 10 August 1917: to duty
  • 19 August 1917: Re-joined battalion
  • 22 October 1917: Reported missing
  • 17 December 1917: Struck off

The 2/DLI War Diary reports that the battalion was posted to the Bethune area in February and the battalion trench strength was 41 Officers and 951 ORs at 22 February 1917.  In March, the battalion was at Mazingarbe and then onto Les Brebis by 2 May.  The war diary reports on action in the trenches and trench raids undertaken by the battalion.  With regard to Lance Sergeant H.B. Race, he was wounded 13 July:

“In the afternoon enemy were active with aerial darts in the neighbourhood of SCOTS ALLEY.  About 9-30pm hostile T.M.’s were active on the right coy area.  Casualties 1OR wounded at duty.” 

Lance Sergeant H.B. Race was treated for the wound and returned to duty, 10 August.  By 24 August, 2/DLI was at Les Brebis where it relieved the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (3rd Canadian Division).  It was much of the same throughout August, September and October and the number of casualties was building up.  The War Diary includes the following details:

20 October, 2/DLI relieved 14/DLI in CATAPULT TRENCH and COBB TRENCH, casualties 2 ORs wounded

21 October, Enemy artillery active between 5 and 6pm Casualties 5 ORs wounded.

22 October:

“A patrol of 3 OR missing 21/22. Quiet day.  Enemy Art. Again active between 5 & 6pm.  Battalion was relieved by the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regt. and moved to billets in LES BREBIS.”

Later research records that 2/DLI lost only 1 man, killed in action, namely Lance Sergeant H.B. Race during the days around 22 October 1917. [19]  He was initially reported as “missing” but due to the length of time with no news he was struck off the roll in December 1917 and presumed dead, from 22 October 1917.  Lance Sergeant H.B. Race served a total of 3 years 49 days as follows: [20]

  • Home: 5 September 1914 to 24 August 1915………………………. 354 days
  • France: 25 August 1915 to 3 August 1916……………………………. 345 days
  • Home: 4 August 1916 to 9 December 1916………………………….. 128 days
  • France: 10 December 1916 to 22 October 1917…………….…….. 317 days

Awards and Medals

Lance Serjeant Henry B. Race was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War medals.[21]

Medal Roll card index

Pension and Effects

Lance Serjeant Henry B. Race’s mother Francis received his effects[22]and his pension.[23]

Commemoration [24]

Lance Serjeant Henry B. Race has no known grave and is commemorated at Bay 8, the Arras Memorial, France. The Arras Memorial commemorates 34,795 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died from the spring of 1916 until 7 August 1918, and who have no known grave. Most of the casualties commemorated here were killed during the Allied offensive during the Battles of Arras in April and May 1917 and during the German attack on the Allied Front from 21 March 1918.

The Arras Memorial is along the back wall of the cemetery


HENRY B. RACE 1892 – 1917

17752 Lance Serjeant Henry B. Race, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 22 October 1917, aged 25.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.  Henry was born in London, 1892.  His father was a Durham man who returned home to work in the pits.  Henry was also a coal miner.  He enlisted September 1914, entered France August 1915 initially with 13/DLI, was wounded July 1916, treated in Belfast Hospital, returned to France, was transferred to 2/DLI, was wounded again July 1917 before being reported missing during patrol duty in the front line trenches around Les Brebis, France in October 1917.   


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1901 census

[3] 1911 census

[4] CWGC

[5] Army Form B.2065 (Short Service 3 years with the colours)

[6] Army Form B.2065 Description of H.B. Race on enlistment & Army Form B.178 Medical History


[8] http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/23rd-division/

[9] http://www.1914-1918.net/dli.htm

[10] Medal Roll card index

[11] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1916.htmt

[12] Army Form B.2065 & Army Form B.200 Statement of the Services

[13] Medal Roll card index

[14] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[15] 13/DLI War Diary National Archives reference WO-95-2182-2

[16] Soldiers Died in the Great War Note: No officers are recorded by ODGW.

[17] 2/DLI War Diary National Archive reference WO-95-1617-1

[18] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[19] SDGW

[20] Military History Sheet

[21] Medal Roll card index and Rolls dated 17 October 1919 & 15 April 1920

[22] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 Record No.744715

[23] Dependant’s Pension card index.

[24] CWGC