Herbert Pope

Herbert Pope
Born at Ely in 1885 Herbert was the eldest of two sons born to John, an agricultural labourer, and Mary (née Green). In 1901 the family lived at Wills Lane, Ely. Herbert was a printer's apprentice. By 1911 Herbert had moved to St Ives to work as a lithographic compositor at Enderby & Co printing works in St Ives. He boarded with John Bowd at Bramley Farm, St Ives.

Enlisted with the Hunts Cyclists, Herbert spent his first part of service engaged on coastal defence in Lincolnshire. He was transferred to the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and took part in the Battle of the Somme. One of the bloodiest battles in human history, three million men fought and one million were wounded or killed.

High Street, Guillemont 1916
The High Street of Guillemont on 3 September 1916
On 3 September 1916 the Battle of Guillemont was launched. Previous attempts in July and August had failed to capture the village of Guillemont. With underground tunnels, dugouts and concrete emplacements, it presented a formidable barrier to progress.

At 8.50am Herbert's Battalion rose from captured trenches and walked towards the German lines as though on parade. The British soldiers came under heavy machine gun fire on front and sides. Continuing to advance, they began to 'wither away' to a few remnants, incurring 293 casualties and halting progress.

Herbert was one of those killed in action on Sunday 3 September 1916, aged 30yrs. News of his death was reported in the Hunts Post on 15 September 1916 and 13 October 1916. Herbert has no known grave and is commemorated at Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

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Source materials
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