Private 353132 William Ernest Hunt

Killed in Action on Sunday, 24th March 1918, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 13 and 14 of Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

9th Bn., Royal Scots. 183rd Brigade of 61st Division.
Formerly 3096 7th Bn. West Riding Regiment.

Son of Charles George and Sarah Jane Hunt, of 5, Stansfield Buildings, Vaudrey St., Stalybridge, Cheshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Milnsbridge, Yorks, Resident: Stalybridge, Cheshire.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial, but commemorated on the Stalybridge War Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1583116/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Ernest Hunt registered March quarter 1899 at Dudley.

1901 Census
156 Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Sarah Hunt (35, Head, born Tipton), and her 4 children: Charles (16, House Painter, born Tipton), Agnes (9, born Tipton), George (6, born Tipton), and William (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
2 Stansfield Yard, off Vandrey Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire.
George Hunt (47, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Sarah Jane (46, born Tipton), and 3 of their 4 surviving children of 5: Agnes (18, Cotton Ring Frame Tenter, born Tipton), George Henry (16, Cotton Weaver, born Tipton), and William Ernest (12, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/17/4d (4 pounds, 17 shillings and 4 pence), this was paid to his father, Charles G., in September 1919. His War Gratuity was £16/0/0d (16 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in approximately October 1914.

William's War Gratuity of £16 allows the calculation that he enlisted in approximately October 1914. If the value is correct as recorded, then William must have been approximately 15 years and 9 months old at enlistment, unfortunately his Soldier's Papers were destroyed during the Blitz and we cannot cross-check.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Royal Scots, known as “The Dandy Ninth”, were one of the battalions of 183rd Brigade of 61st Division. When the German Spring Offensive commenced on 21st March 1918 they were in front of St. Quentin where they held on, under intense pressure, until ordered to withdraw on the afternoon of 22nd March.

On the morning of the 23rd March, the enemy had crossed the Rover Somme at Ham. 61st Division was retreating in the direction of Nesle having crossed the Somme and continued its retreat to the Nesle Canal. That evening, the 61st Division was practically amalgamated with the 20th, and both were concentrated near Nesle.

On the morning of 24th March, the Germans pushed across the Somme at Pargny, and renewed their attempt at Bethencourt. The Royal Scots counter-attacked, and by 2.30 pm the position had once more been re-established, however the withdrawal had to continue.

The next line of defence lay along the Canal du Nord between Nesle and Libermont. It was necessary to fall back and use this as an obstacle. It was the third day since the men had had a decent meal or an uninterrupted rest, and they were very disorganised and broken. From the new positions the German infantry could now be seen heading towards the Canal du Nord. This action was for another day, one which William Hunt did not see as he was killed in action on the 24th March.

The 24th March had seen the 9th Royal Scots in action with the enemy. This had been costly as the battalion had lost 56 Other Ranks during the day; this included Private William Hunt who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

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