Henry Tune

york and lancaster regiment badgePrivate, 46269, 13th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley), York & Lancaster Regiment (formerly, 207123, Royal Army Service Corps and 42887 Prince of Wale’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)), killed in action, 12th April 1918, aged 19

Born at Crowle in 1897, Henry was the only son of Henry Moody and Annie Eardley Tune (nee Proctor),  both of  whom were also from Crowle. The family lived on the Moors where Henry Snr was a farmer. In 1911 Henry Jnr was the manager of a ‘litter shop’ at the at the Peat Moss Litter Works, Medge Hall.

Henry attested for the army at Scunthorpe on 2nd March 1916 and was mobilised on 23rd August 1916, shortly before his 19th birthday. He was assigned to the Army Service Corps, Motor Transport Section and posted to the 83rd Training Reserve Battalion, Isleworth. He had only been there just over a week, when on 2nd September 1916, he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Henry stayed at Isleworth until being posted to France on 13th July 1917.

Shortly after arriving in France, 1st August 1917 Henry was transferred from the ASC to the infantry, the 1/8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. But he was only to be with them a few months when he was forced to return to the UK on 22nd October 1917 suffering from Trench Feet. He spent a month in Hospital in Aberdeen and then having recovered was posted to Whitley Bay. He was here in March 1918 when he received instructions to go back to France, where he was once again transferred, this time to 8th Platoon, B Company, 13th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley), York & Lancaster Regiment, commonly known as the 1st Barnsley Pals, joining them on 4th April 1918.

At the time the Barnsley Pals were in reserve recovering from their involvement and casualties in the Battle of St Quentin. Just a week later, 11th April 1918 the day General Haig issued his famous ‘backs to the wall’ order, their rest was interrupted when they were rushed back to the front to defend the important railway centre of Hazebrouck against the Georgette offensive as it pushed north over the River Lys. The Barnsley Pals were positioned close to the village of Doulieu and their first action was to stage a lightening raid that evening, along with the Durham Pals, which caught the enemy completely by surprise and succeeded in re-taking la Becque and la Rose Farms.

The success was not to last long. At around 7.30am the next morning 12th April, the German artillery began a heavy bombardment across the entire front. Around 9.00am the enemy troops pressed forward, closely supported by mobile trench mortars and light artillery firing at short range andthe centre of the British defence was pushed backwards threatening to outflank the Barnsley Pals and their brigade on the left.

As the Barnsley Pals attempted to fall back towards Outtersteene they came under heavy machine gun fire from the German troops who now occupied the village and were compelled to withdraw northwards instead. The withdrawal under heavy shelling and machine gun fire was made all the more difficult by the waterways and hedges that divided the landscape; several men drowning attempting to cross the deep and broad ditches. However the remaining men did help to hold up the German advance through the night and the next day until the Australian Divisions were able to complete a new set of defence east of Nieppe Forest and thus protect Hazebrouck.

Henry Tune was one of the many casualties of the Battle of the Lys. By 1919 his family, despite writing several letters to the army had still not had official news of Henry’s fate and they asked Mr Sanderson, headmaster of Crowle School, to write to the Secretary of State for War in Whitehall to see if he could help. Their reply is not known but Henry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

tune casualty letter