Bernard Haller

Private, 16458, 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (Formerly 11775, Oxfordshire And Buckinghamshire Light Infantry), died of wounds, 3rd July, 1916, aged 22.

Born at Althorpe, on 26th February 1894, Bernard was the third son and one of the seven children of William and Annie Haller. His father was a stationary engine driver from Thorne, whilst his mother was from Newcastle.

The family had moved to Birmingham around 1900 and in 1911 lived in Handsworth, where Bernard worked for a bedstead maker.

Bernard enlisted in the Army at Handsworth in late 1914 or early 1915, possibly in the Oxfordshire And Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, but by the time he went out to France on 2nd June 1915, he was a reinforcement for 1st Hampshire Regiment in 11th Brigade, 4th Division.

On the opening day of the Somme Offensive, 1st July, 1916, the 1st Hampshire Regiment were faced with the task of assaulting Beaumont Hamel, one of the most strongly defended sectors of the whole 25 mile front.

In support as part of the second wave of attacks, the 1st Hampshires left their trenches at 7.40am to join the carnage ahead of them. Very few Hampshire made it to the wire, a few bombers were reported to have gotten into the German line, but the majority were brought down at or short of the wire. The survivors could only seek the poor shelter of the shell holes in No Mans Land, where they had to lie for hours until darkness fell before attempting to make their way back.

With 321 men killed or missing and 265 wounded, the experience at Beaumont Hamel was the 1st Hampshire’s worst experience of the whole war.

Among the wounded was Private Bernard Haller. He died of his wounds on 3rd July 1917 and is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery.