Herbert Chapman Cross
sister of Phyllis Page
Herbert Chapman Cross
(1890-1917). My Father's Mother's Brother.
1890: Herbert was born on the 21st November at Potters Lane, Ely, Cambridgeshire. He was baptised in St Peter's Church, Broad Street, on Christmas Eve.
1915: The Official History of the Suffolk Regiment continues The 11th Battalion remained in Cambridge until May 19th 1915, when it was sent up to Yorkshire, a large crowd assembling at the station to give parting cheers. At one point the 11ths were intended to take part in the action at Galipolli, but the retreat from Suvla Bay by allied forces put paid to this idea. Instead, it appears that the 5th Suffolks, who had taken part in the assault on Galipolli and suffered terrible losses, were reinforced from other Suffolk Regiment batallions, and so, probably before the end of 1915, Herbert Chapman Cross had been transferred to the 5ths, and was soon engaged in the defence of the Suez Canal in northern Egypt.
1916: In 1916 the 5th Suffolks were involved in a number of engagements at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. It is unclear if Herbert was involved in these, as part of the Battalion remained stationed in Egypt on the Suez Canal and an encampment by the Pyramids.
1917: With the War in the east turning in the Allies' favour, on 1st February the Battalion left Egypt for Palestine. In April, they took part in the short but furious Second Battle of Gaza. Patrick Ashton's book Remembering Ely: a history of Ely's war memorial and men of the Great War (2018) records that Herbert was wounded on 9th April. The source for this information may be the Suffolk Regiment records at Bury St Edmunds. The next mention we have of Herbert is his death on October 18th 'from wounds'.
Was it the injuries of 9th April that led to Herbert's death, or had he recovered from them and returned to the battalion? It seems that April's injuries were likely to blame, for after the Second Battle of Gaza the Battalion spent time at rest in an encampment by the sea, and then behind the Gaza line providing working parties for filling sandbags. During the third week of June, the Official History of the Suffolk Regiment records, the battalion moved to Samson's Ridge, the most prominent feature in that Sector, and offering an extensive view of the country beyond Gaza. Every afternoon the white houses of that town caught the sun, making them look like fairy dwellings to sand-weary eyes. The battalion was then in training behind the lines until being issued with helmets on 25th October for what would turn out to be the Third Battle of Gaza, but Herbert had, of course, been dead a week by then. It was not possible to repatriate the wounded from Palestine and Mesopotamia in the same way as it was from northern France, so Herbert may have spent all this time in a field hospital in Gaza.
He was buried in the Gaza War Cemetery in what is now part of the Palestinian State. Unfortunately, the cemetery, though well-maintained, is currently not visitable from the West. He is remembered on the City of Ely war memorial and on the memorial boards in St George's chapel in Ely Cathedral, although his name is curiously omitted from the Holy Trinity parish war memorial, also in Ely Cathedral.
LIFE GOES ON: AN INTRODUCTION
MY GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
THE SIXTEEN FAMILIES
KNOTT - I - BOWLES - I - WATERS - I - HARRALL - I - PAGE - I - WISEMAN - I - CROSS - I - CARTER
CORNWELL - I - HUCKLE - I - MORTLOCK - I - MANSFIELD - I - REYNOLDS - I - CARTER - I - ANABLE - I - STEARN
CHRONOLOGY - I - DRAMATIS PERSONAE - I - WHERE PEOPLE CAME FROM - I - CALENDAR
MAP OF ELY - I - MAP OF MEDWAY
MAP OF CAMBRIDGE AND DISTRICT
WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II
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LIFE GOES ON