Herbert Everatt

northumberland fusiliers badgePrivate 291260 (previously 7/4510), 1/7th (Territorial) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, died, 14th November 1916, aged 23.

Born at Crowle in 1893, Herbert was the youngest son and one of eight children of Robert and Sarah Everatt (nee Isle), both of whom were also from Crowle. The family lived in North Street where Herbert, like his father, was a farm worker. His mother died in 1903. Working on a farm in Amcotts in 1911, the following year Herbert married Emily Acaston (Ancaster?) at Swinefleet and the couple had one child, Emily, born in 1916.

Herbert enlisted in the army at Goole in April 1916, and was allocated to the 1/7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. In November 1916 the 1/7th Northumberland’s were stationed in the area around the Butte de Warlencourt, a prehistoric burial mound close to the village of Le Sars. One of the highest points in the area it had a hugely significant strategic position on the Somme battlefied. Held and strongly defended by the Germans, the Butte saw some of the fiercest fighting at The Somme, at the cost of thousands of lives. On 13th November they were given orders to capture a strategic point near the Butte known as Hook SAP. The official History of the Battalion was scathing about the plan and the reasons for it:

It could only have been regarded as a forlorn hope at the best, a means of drawing artillery fire away from a more hopeful attack on the west side of  the German salient (at Beaucourt).  The battalion took its objective, but the assaulting troops were practically wiped out on the objective before supports, before even a message, could be sent to them.  Of all the battalion’s experiences  surely this was the most bitter and heart-breaking. You will find no account of this affair in official histories, but there are those who will not forget the brave men who perished gloriously but fruitlessly on the Ancre heights.

The attack began in heavy mist at 6.45am and lasted all day. The attackers took and occupied the post, but were then surrounded and wiped out in a German counter-attack. A second attack at 6.30pm tried to retake the position but they were beaten back under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire.

As a consequence the Northumberland’s suffered heavy casualties that day, 19 men were killed, 101 wounded and 103 posted as missing. One of whom was Herbert Everatt. He has no known grave as is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Herbert is commemorated on the plaque to former members of the congregation and Sunday School in Crowle Methodist Chapel. He is also commemorated on Swinefleet War Memorial.