Volume X Christmas 1916 No. 60
It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce the death of Mr O.J. Hobbs, who was killed in action at the Battle of the Ancre last month. Soon after the war started Mr Hobbs joined the Naval Division, Anson Battalion. He passed through all the Non-Commissioned ranks, and after being appointed Chief-Petty Officer, he received his commission as a Sub-Lieutenant. He fought at the Dardanelles and at Salonika and thence proceeded to France. Mr Hobbs was a brilliant scholar, being an MA. of Oxford and BSc of London University. He was formerly a scholar of Merton college. We venture to express our most profound sympathy with all his relatives.
Somewhere in France.
September 1916. Thank goodness things seem pretty bright now, and we have the upper hand. Goodness only knows how long it will take the Huns yet to see that they are really licked!
We spent the night consolidating our position and then suddenly during "Stand down" about 4 a.m., I heard bombing on the left of the Company. Here we held a blocked communication trench which ran into the Bosch lines. I went across to the left to see what the trouble was and found the Hun was making a counter attack on our trench and almost as soon as I set foot in the communication trench he sent over a volley of about half a dozen bombs. They were beautifully aimed and put practically all of us out (8 men). Naturally I got pieces all over me and one wretched bomb burst at the side of my foot. I was able to crawl away from the communication into the fire trench, where I was bound up by a Machine Gun Sergeant. Then two of our men helped me along into another Company's lines where I was bound up again by their stretcher bearers and carried on a stretcher to our Battalion Head Quarters. Here I was patched up by our Medical Officer. I was then taken down into Head Quarters dug-out. I lay on a wire matting bed till 11 p.m. when I was taken back to the Dressing Station by four bearers. It was a journey too, because we had to come from the Hun Trenches across No Man's Land through the British System and finally back again to the Dressing Station. At 6 p.m. the next morning a Motor Ambulance took us away to another dressing post. My stay here was short and a few hours later I found myself once again in a Motor Ambulance on my way to the Central Clearing Station. Once more I was put in to a Motor Ambulance this time for a 20 mile ride - a "joy ride" I shall not easily forget as the roads were very bad. On my arrival I was operated upon and five souvenirs were cut out of me. The same night I went by train to the base and found myself in the Duchess of Westminster's Hospital and have a dizzy recollection of murmuring to the nurses something about beds being "too short". The next three weeks remain in my mind as a nasty nightmare.
We have to announce with regret the deaths of Eric Gutteridge, Sec-Lieut., Leicester Regiment, and Stanley Neil, Captain, R.E. In the same battle (the Somme) Colin Mc Carraher, Sec-Lieut., Yorks. and Lancs. Regt., and John Jack, Captain, R.E., were both severely wounded, the latter for the second time.
Concerning Eric Gutteridge, we have permission to publish the following from his C.O.: -
"He dies at the head of his platoon, leading them in a charge against the German trenches. He dies nobly. I was talking to him only a few minutes before the charge. He was cheerful and eager " to get at em", as he expressed it. His cheerful voice, full of confidence, was a great encouragement to his men. His jolly personality had endeared him to his brother officers. He nobly upheld the traditions of the British Army and the honour of the regiment".
(from a second letter)
"He was very pleased with himself when he knew that his platoon was to lead the way, and he was determined to give a good account of himself. He coolly got all his men into their places and, when the signal for the advance was given, led them forward. As we neared the German lines, the enemy were able to get their machine guns into action and held us up for a while. Despite the heavy fire our fellows crawled forward. He got right on to the German parapet, when he was shot through the head. He was killed on July 14th, the National Day of France. I made it my business to find his body the next morning.
Until this term we were known officially as the Southampton King Edward VI School Cadet Company. The Hampshire Territorial Force Association has now recognised us as a Cadet Corps of two companies, and our title appears in Army Orders as Southampton King Edward VI School Cadet Corps.
Bad weather during the term has prevented fieldwork. Much good work, however, has been carried out in the playground. The division of the Corps into two companies is having a beneficial effect.
On October 14th 30 Cadets, representing the Corps, were inspected by Colonel Sir H.G.L. Crichton. The Cadets acquitted themselves admirably, and were highly praised by Colonel Crichton.