T2/015674 Driver Harry Hucklesby, Army Service Corps Horse Transport
Born on 29th April 1888 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 9th September 1947 in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead
Henry (Harry) Hucklesby was born in Little Gaddesden, the youngest of the 6 children of William Hucklesby and Fanny née Collyer. His name was registered as Henry at birth; however, he was baptised Harry Hucklesby, at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 4th June 1888. His father was an Agricultural Labourer, working for Mr Underwood at Church Farm.
Harry’s siblings were:
- Brother: George born in 1871
- Sister: Susan born in 1873
- Brother: Charles Hucklesby, born 20th March 1876
- Brother: Frank, born 22nd May 1880
- Sister: Kate born in 1884
The family lived in Little Gaddesden. In the 1891 Census 2 year old Henry was at home at 20 Little Gaddesden with his parents and siblings Susan, 18, a General Domestic Servant, Charles, 15, an Agricultural Labourer and Frank, 10 and Kate, 6, who were both at school.
Harry attended Little Gaddesden School, where he started on 2nd May 1892, when he was just 4 years old. The School Log Book entry for that day records:
Monday is being kept as May Day by the village children. The School is always kept open on such occasions, but the meagre attendance is somewhat disheartening. Entered two more little ones on the School Books – Ellen Purton & Harry Hucklesby both of Little Gaddesden.
On 3rd November 1897, the Log Book records:
Henry Hucklesby was taken ill last Friday with Scarlet Fever. As he was the only child in the family attending School & as he had not been at School for over a week, the Managers did not think there was any danger in opening School.
The school did not have to close that winter, though there were several more cases of Fever and also cases of Mumps. Harry returned to school on 10th January 1898, the Log Book entry noting:
Agnes Simmonds and Harry Hucklesby are at School again; each of them has had Scarlet Fever, & each of them is believed to be free from infection by Doctor & Manager of School.
Little Gaddesden School had an annual Diocesan Inspection, during which the children were examined in Religious Knowledge. The names of those children who distinguished themselves in this examination were then recorded in the School Log Book and Harry’s name is included in 1901. However, on 12th March that year, Harry left school with a Certificate of Proficiency. He was then 12 years 10 months old.
The 1901 Census, taken just 3 weeks after Harry left school, shows him working as a 12 year old Farm Labourer and living with his parents and sister Susan, 28, a Laundress, at 20 Little Gaddesden. It is very probable that he went to work at Church Farm with his father. By that time Church Farm was run by George Stanbridge, the father of Alban Stanbridge.
On 17th July 1909, Harry Hucklesby, 22, married Ellen Rosina Dore, 23, at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. Harry was by then a Cowman, living at 2 Little Gaddesden and Ellen a Domestic Servant at the Bridgewater Arms; she was the daughter of Robert William Dore was a Bricklayer. The following month, Harry’s mother died in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead.
Harry and Ellen’s son Harry Frederick (Fred) Hucklesby was born on 3rd June 1910 and was then baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 4th July that year.
In the 1911 Census, the family’s address was recorded only as “Little Gaddesden” but, from the position in the entries, it is likely to have been 2 Little Gaddesden. Harry was still a Farm Cowman; his widowed father William, who lived with them, was a Farm Labourer.
Harry and Ellen’s daughter Norah Kathleen Hucklesby was born on 25th December 1913. She was baptised in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 1st March 1914, by which time the family lived at 5 Frithsden. Harry still worked as a Cowman.
Harry served as a Driver, Service Number T2/015674, in the Horse Transport section of the Army Service Corps. However, only his Medal Records and Absent Voters’ list entries have survived; the Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919 Absent Voters’ lists show him in the 18th Auxiliary Horse Company, Salonika. Harry’s enlistment date is unknown, but that Company was formed out of ASC Company 163, which served as 16 Reserve Park Company, handling the rations and forage for a division in the lines of communication behind the front line. However, 16 Reserve Park Company was not sent to the Western Front; it became 18 Auxiliary Horse Transport Company and was sent to Salonika. For his War Service, Harry was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Harry Hucklesby is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll his unit is recorded as “Army Service Corps”; on the Centenary Revision of the Roll this has been recorded more fully as “Army Service Corps Horse Transport”, named as it was when he joined. By the time he was demobilised in 1919, the ASC had become the Royal Army Service Corps. Next to Harry on the Roll is his brother Charles Hucklesby, Royal Navy, who was awarded the French Medaille Militaire.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
On the Absent Voters’ lists, Harry’s address is recorded as 3 Frithsden, but that was almost certainly a mis-reading of 5 Frithsden, where he and Ellen were shown on the Electoral Register for Spring 1919. Then, by Autumn 1919 they lived at Keeper’s Cottage, Berkhamsted Common, where they remained until 1922.
However, from 1923 until at least 1930 they lived again at 2 High Street, Little Gaddesden (2 Little Gaddesden), which suggests that Harry returned to work for George Stanbridge at Church Farm, as No 2 was a tied cottage for Church Farm workers.
The 1939 Register shows that, by September 1939, Harry was a Gardener Labourer, living at 8 Council Cottages (later 8 Chapel Close), Hudnall. Ellen has not been found in the 1939 Register, but her 1946 National Probate Calendar entry gives 8 Council Cottages, Hudnall as her address and names Harry as her husband.
In mid-May 1940, both Harry and his son Fred volunteered for the Local Defence Force, which later became the Home Guard. They are named on PC Parker’s original list of volunteers and were assigned to No 3 Section, based at Ashridge Golf Club. Men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall, Hudnall and Great Gaddesden all served in No 5 Platoon, part of the Berkhamsted Company (No 7, later B Company) of the 7th Hertfordshire Battalion. Private Harry Hucklesby is named in Capt. Alan St H Brock’s book, “7th Hertfordshire Battalion Home Guard, a History of the Battalion 1940-44” and is included in the 1944 photograph shown below. He was still a member when the 7th Battalion was stood down on 3rd December 1944.
Little Gaddesden First World War veterans also identified on this photo are:
- Back Row, L to R: 4. John (Jack) Mayling; 5. Reginald Purton; 6. Don Goodman
- 2nd Row: L to R: 6. James Gray, Platoon Commander and father of Duncan Gray; 7. Horace Halsey; 8. Walter Bunn; 9. Joe Hing.
- Front Row: 12. Arthur Maunders
Other veterans known to have served in the Home Guard were: Albert Boarder, Sidney (Jubal) Jones, William Newman (father of Billy Newman), Edwin Purton, Frank Rogers and Edward Saunders. The Battalion’s Adjutant and Quartermaster in 1941 was William O’Kelly.
Younger members of the Home Guard, most of whom were subsequently called up for military service included: George Halsey son of Horace Halsey; Leonard Hing son of Lewis Hing; Raymond Hing, son of Joe Hing; Fred Liberty, son of George Liberty; John Oakins son of Steve Oakins; Gordon and Maurice Purton, sons of Reginald Purton, and Arthur Whitman, son of James Whitman and named after his uncle Arthur Whitman.
Harry Hucklesby, a 59 year old Hospital Gardener, died on 9th September 1947 in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead. His home address was given as 8 Hudnall Lane.
5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1872 – 1887 and 1887 – 1906
6. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register
7. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
8. 1918-21 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden
14. Police Constable Parker’s list of Little Gaddesden’s Local Defence Volunteers, compiled in May 1940
15. ed. Brock, Capt. Alan St H, (1945?) 7th Hertfordshire Battalion Home Guard. A History of the Battalion 1940-44
16. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge.
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson