Joseph Hing

2193 Private Joseph Hing, 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment, later M/2/176514 Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport

Born on 27th November 1890 in Northall, Edlesborough, Bucks
Died on 23rd July 1965 in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead

Family and Home 1, 2, 3

Joseph Hing, known as Joe (Joe Jnr.), was born in Northall, Edlesborough, the sixth of the 8 children of Joseph Hing and Sarah Jane née Ginger.

His siblings were:

  • Brother: William James Hing, born 14th June 1881
  • Sister: Jane, born 4th September 1882
  • Brother: Edward Hing, born 5th July 1885
  • Brother: Lewis Hing, born 14th April 1887
  • Sister: Minnie, born 23rd March 1889
  • Brother: Frederick, born 27th March 1893
  • Sister: Dorothy Ruth, born 29th January 1895

When Joe was born, his family lived at Pest House Lane, Northall, Edlesborough and his father was a Farm Labourer.

Moving to Meadow Farm, Ringshall 4, 5

Early in 1893, Joseph, Sarah and their family moved from Northall to Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall, an Ashridge Estate holding which the family then farmed for 35 years until the Estate was sold. The Little Gaddesden School Log Book of 20th February 1893 notes that:

Two new faces here this morning – Edward and Lewis Ing from Northall. Their parents have taken the house formerly occupied by George Whitman of Ringshall.

The spelling of the family’s surname is initially recorded as “Ing” in the School Log Book, and later as “Hing”.

Education 4

The Little Gaddesden School Log Book entry for 24th April 1894 notes that: “The following Infants have been admitted – Hubert Halsey, Joseph Ing, Ada Fountain and Maude Rance.“Joseph was 3 years 5 months old.

The Census of 31st March 1901 showed that Minnie, 12, Joseph, 10, Frederick, 8 and Dorothy, 6 were all at school then. 15 year old Edward Hing was a Stable Lad (Groom) and 13 year old Lewis Hing a House Boy, while 18 year old Jane’s entry records “no occupation”. Joe’s brother James Hing was then a 19 year old Domestic Groom, living in “Rooms above the Coach House” at Bovingdon House, Bovingdon.

An Outbreak of Measles 4

On 25th November 1901, the Log Book records:

I am sorry to say the Measles are very much on the increase. They have now appeared at Little Gaddesden in four houses:- those of Messrs. Liberty, Robinson, Phillips and Wibden – also at Mr. Hoar’s of Hudnall & at Mr. Ing’s of Ringshall.

Measles was then a very serious illness and children in the affected families were all to be kept at home. By 9th December only 37 children were present at school out of the 136 on the Roll that term, so the school closed until 30th December.

Distinction in Religious Knowledge 4

Little Gaddesden School had a Diocesan Inspection in January or February each year, during which the children were examined in Religious Knowledge. The Log Book records the names of those children who distinguished themselves in this examination and Joe’s name is included in 1903.

Leaving School 4

On 22nd February 1903, eight children including Horace Ruffett, Hubert Halsey and Joseph Hing were examined for their Labour Certificate also known as a Certificate of Proficiency, which they passed. Therefore, on 20th April 1903, Joseph Hing, aged 12 years 5 months, left Little Gaddesden School with a Certificate of Proficiency.

Employment 3

In the 1911 Census, 20 year old Joe was a Labouring Gardener, living at home at Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall with his parents Joseph and Sarah and brothers Lewis Hing, 23, a Chauffeur and Frederick, 18, a Farm Labourer. Joe’s father was the Watchman at Ashridge House and his youngest brother Frederick was the only family member recorded as a Farm Labourer.

By then his brother James Hing was a Domestic Chauffeur, living at 61 Horsecroft Road, Boxmoor and his brother Edward Hing was married and a 25 year old Motor Mechanic working at Ware Park.

Military Service 6, 7, 8

Joe’s Medal and Award Roll entry shows that he attested for the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment, Territorial Force on 30th May 1913, so would have been at Annual Camp at Ashridge at the start of August 1914. The week was planned to include parades, drills, skirmishes, night exercises, camp sports, inter-company football and boxing and a tattoo with massed bands – not to mention a visit to the Ashridge Flower Show. However, at 5am on Monday 3rd August, the order was received to strike camp. All thoughts of the tattoo, the boxing finals and the football cup match forgotten, the men of F Company returned home to await further orders. These arrived next day, instructing them to report to Company HQ at The Bury in Hemel Hempstead on 5th August.

Training for France 8

From Hemel Hempstead, F Company moved to Hertford to join the rest of the regiment before moving on to Romford and then Bury St Edmunds, where they trained for two months.

A copy of this postcard was sent from Horace Ruffett (seated far right) to his brother Ernest Ruffett, dated 30th August 1914.

Photo of F Company, 1st Battalion Herts Regiment, in training
Men from F Company, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment training at Bury St Edmunds in August 1914.

That copy was given to Michael McCaul for the Little Gaddesden Archive by Ernest Ruffett’s son E H Ruffett in 1996/7.

The postcard reads:

F Com. 1st Herts
Dear E I thought you would like one of these. It is a good one. You will know them nearly all. It is very hot here today. Yours H

Joe is the man sitting on the left hand end of the group and Arthur Whitman is seated 4th from left, armed with sandwich and mug of tea. Other men who may be in this photo are: Vernon Batchelor, Harry CutlerWilliam Fenn, Richard Hoar and Herbert Impey.

To France with the “Herts Guards” 7, 8

On 5th November 1914, the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment left Bury St Edmunds by train, embarking aboard the “City of Chester” at Southampton, sailing for Le Havre at midnight and arriving in France 6th November 1914. Over the next 5 days, they proceeded via St Omer to Ypres, where the regiment saw its first action during the First Battle of Ypres. According to Vernon Batchelor from Hudnall, the Battalion spent Christmas 1914

up to our knees in mud and water… They (the Germans) were busy singing at midnight and playing some sort of whistle; of course our side was singing as well. We were only 15 yards away from the Germans in one place, and between two and three hundred yards away in others, so you see we are not very far from the enemy.

Thank you for the Christmas Parcel 8

On 30th January 1915, the Hemel Hempstead Gazette published a letter from 76 men of F Company, Hertfordshire Regiment, to thank the people of Hemel Hempstead and district for the Christmas parcel containing many good things. Among the signatories was Private J Hing. Others included Private V BatchelorPrivate H CutlerLance Corporal W Finn (sic), Private R HoarPrivate H ImpeyCorporal H Ruffitt and Private A Whitman.

Transfer to the Army Service Corps 6, 7

Joe served with the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment until 4th April 1916, after which he transferred to the Army Service Corps, in which he served as a Private, Service Number M/2/176514. M/2 signified that he served in Mechanical Transport, in which he remained until he was demobilised in 1919. For his War Service, Joe was awarded the 1914 Star with Clasp and Roses, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

Death of his Brother-in-Law Arthur William English 9, 10

On 22nd November 1913 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, Joe’s sister Minnie Hing married Arthur William English of Holwell, Dorset, who subsequently served in the Royal Fusiliers. However, on 12th December 1917 G/53105, Private Arthur William English, 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died of wounds in France. He is buried at Le Cateau Military Cemetery, Nord, France where his Grave Reference is V. D. 13.

Photo of Le Cateau Military Cemetery
Le Cateau Military Cemetery, Nord, France, courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

After Arthur’s death, it seems that Minnie returned to her parents’ home. Then, on 23rd April 1919, at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, she married Herbert (Bert) Andrews of 6 Little Gaddesden. By the time the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Grave Registration Reports were compiled in the 1920s, Minnie and Bert had moved to 50 Little Gaddesden, where he worked in the market garden at the Manor House, which explains the following information in Arthur’s entry:

Son of the late Henry English, of Holwell, Sherborne, Dorset. Husband of Minnie Andrews (formerly English), of 50, Little Gaddesden, Berkhamsted, Herts.

Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”

Joseph Hing 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 regiment is listed as 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment, the regiment in which he first served. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll.  His brothers Edward Hing, James Hing and Lewis Hing are also listed on the Rolls. All four survived the War and all finished their service in the unit by then entitled the Royal Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport.

Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver

Marriage and birth of a Son 1, 2, 3, 11

In the 3rd Quarter of 1919, Joseph Hing married Rose Matilda Horn, known as Rosa. The Marriage was registered in Watford. Their son Raymond Joseph Hing was born on 8th June 1921 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 10th July that year. The family then lived at Princes Risborough where Joe was Chauffeur to Alfred Cheeseman.

Early Years of the Little Gaddesden British Legion 5, 12

The Little Gaddesden Branch of the British Legion (now the Royal British Legion) was established in 1923 out of the Old Comrades’ Association. It was the seventh Legion branch to be established in the UK and, according to information in “A Century Remembered”, Joe was a founder members, as were William Johnson and Steve Oakins. With Joe, they had been committee members who helped to set up the Branch. In 1933 Joe became the Branch Standard Bearer.

Birth of a Daughter 1, 2, 13

Electoral Registers show Joe and Rosa living at Langley Lodge, King’s Langley between 1923 and 1926; during this time, on 26th March 1925, their daughter Joan Sarah was born.

The Hing Family 1, 2, 3

Joe’s parents, Joseph and Sarah Hing of Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall, had eight children and nine grandchildren.

A photo taken in 1928 or 1929 shows them all.

Photo of Joseph and Sarah Hing with all their children and grandchildren
The Hing family in 1928 or 1929, courtesy of Debbie Leigh.

Back row L to R: Rosa, wife of Joe Jnr, holding their daughter Joan; Kit wife of Frederick; Raymond son of Rosa and Joe Jnr.

2nd Row L to R: Minnie and Gladys Nash, daughters of Reuben Nash and Jane née Hing; Arthur Putman husband of Dorothy; Reuben Nash; Herbert Andrews and his wife Minnie née Hing; Joe Jnr; Edward Hing and his wife Daisy; Edith, wife of James Hing; Joyce their daughter; Lewis Hing.

Seated on chairs L to R: Dorothy Putman née Hing, wife of Arthur, with their daughter Iris; Jane Nash née Hing, wife of Reuben; Joseph and Sarah; William James Hing; Annie wife of Lewis Hing with their son Edward Jnr.

At the front: Frederick Jnr, son of James Hing and Edith; Leonard Hing, son of Lewis Hing and Annie.

Living in Dagnall 13

Electoral Registers from 1929 and 1930 show Jo and Rosa living at The Lodge, Dagnall.

In Little Gaddesden 2

The 1939 Register records that, by September 1939, Joe, Rosa and their children Ray and Joan lived at 2 Council Cottages (later called Chapel Close), Hudnall. Joe was a Chauffeur and Gardener, Rosa had “Unpaid Domestic Duties”, Ray was a “Motor Mechanic Improver” and Joan was at school.

The Local Defence Volunteers 5, 14

In mid-May 1940, Joe, his son Ray and his nephew Len Hing all joined the Local Defence Volunteers, which later became the Home Guard. They are named on PC Parker’s original list of volunteers, which shows the group divided into four sections. Ray was in No 1 Section, based in Ringshall and was later called up for service in the R.A.F. Joe, however, was in No 2 Section, based in the Hudnall and Four Ways Garage area.

Service in the Home Guard 5, 15

When the Local Defence Volunteers became the Home Guard, men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall, Hudnall and Great Gaddesden served in No 5 Platoon. That platoon was part of the Berkhamsted Company (No 7, later B Company) of the 7th Hertfordshire Battalion. Corporal Joseph Hing 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.

Photo of the Home Guard taken in 1942
No 5 Platoon, B Company, 7th Hertfordshire Battalion, Home Guard. Joe Hing is seated on the right hand end of the 2nd row; his First World War medal ribbons are affixed to his uniform. Courtesy of Wendy Forster.

Little Gaddesden First World War veterans also identified on this photo are:

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 Home Guard Members 5, 14

Joe’s son Ray and his nephew Len Hing, son of his brother Lewis Hing, were among the younger members of the Home Guard, most of whom were subsequently called up for military service. Other younger members included: George Halsey son of Horace Halsey; Fred Hucklesby, son of Harry Hucklesby; 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.

Later Life 5, 12

Joe and Rosa continued to live at 2 Chapel Close, Hudnall Lane. In 1956, Joe and William Wells were two of the first members of the Little Gaddesden British Legion to be awarded the Gold Badge, for outstanding service to the Branch. In his book “Little Gaddesden and Ashridge”, Howard Senar notes that Joe Hing was Standard Bearer of the Branch for 27 years from 1933 to 1960. Joe therefore retained that position until the age of 70.

Death 16, 17, 18

On 23rd July 1965, 75 year old Joseph Hing, of 2 Chapel Close, Hudnall Lane, Little Gaddesden died in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead. His widow Rosa remained at 2 Chapel Close until her death, aged 82, on 12th February 1973. Joseph and Rosa are buried together in the new churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden.


1. England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. The 1939 Register

3. 1881 – 1921 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions 

4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906

5. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge

6. UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920

7.  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

8. Reynolds, Bertha & Chris (1995) “The London Gunners Come to Town”, Life and Death in Hemel Hempstead in the Great War, Codil Language Systems Ltd in association with Dacorum Heritage Trust.

9. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register 1913 and 1919


11. England & Wales marriages 1837-2005 Transcriptions

12. Senar, H (1983), Little Gaddesden and Ashridge, Phillimore & Co. Ltd.

13. Electoral Registers 1832 – 1932

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. England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007

17. National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858 – 1995

18. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1965 and 1973

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson