Saturday, 19 July 2014

7660 Pte Henry William Emberson, 1st Bn, DCLI

I am pleased to remember here, 7660 Private Henry William Emberson of the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry who was killed in action on 22nd October 1914 aged 29.
Henry enlisted at Warley in Essex and judging by his regimental number, he joined up in October 1903, probably for three years with the colours and nine on the reserve. This would have meant that he was a reservist in August 1914 and, recalled to the colours, was probably at the regimental depot by 5th or 6th August 1914.  His medal index card shows that he arrived in France on 21st August 1914 and after nearly eight years on the reserve, getting back into the swing of army life (and more to the point, marching on the cobbled pave of Belgium and France) must have come as a shock to the system.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Henry was the son of William and Elizabeth Emberson of 7Auckland Road, Leyton.  Soldiers Died in The Great War also notes that he was born at Leyton and was living in Leyton when he enlisted. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.
The war diary for the 1st Battalion DCLI states that on the 21st October, the battalion held back several German counter-attacks during the day, the last of which came at 2am on the 22nd. This 2am attack is possibly when Pte Emberson was killed, because at 3am the DCLI were relived and moved back into reserve. Although they were called back up later on the 22nd, they were not engaged and there is no mention of any casualties for the rest of the day.

The Commonwealth War Graves it shows that 10 privates and two lance-corporals of the 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry were killed that night. They were Privates:  8348 Coughlan, 7660 Emberson,  7270 Flay, 10262 Higgins, 4990 Innes, 10003 King, 7888 Miller, 7333 Robbins, 8450 Smith and 8515 Wake. The two lance-corporals were 7110 Twiselton and 8786 Denton.
My thanks to William Williams who contacted me about Private Emberson having read my post on Issachar Allen, also of the 1st DCLI, who was killed the previous day, 21st October 1914. William writes, "I have tried to find out as much as I can on Henry and was lucky enough to find his medals. I was able to buy them and now every remembrance Sunday, I wear them in his memory."
Henry Emberson's medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

Naval & Military Press