RFA West Lancs Bdes
681425 BDR. H. R. HUNT. R.F.A.
Henry Rainford Hunt was born on 10 July 1894 in Toxteth, Liverpool, and baptised at Princes Park, St Paul, on 19 August. His father was Edwin Hunt (b. 1862 in Eccesall Bierlow, near Sheffield), a groom and coachman. His mother was Sophie Trott (b. 1859 in Egremont, Cheshire). Edwin and Sophie were married in Birkenhead in 1887 and they had four children: Edwin (b. 1887), Annie Isabel (b. 1889), then Harry, and finally Alfred (b. 1895). Edwin snr died in 1904 and in 1911, Sophie was living with her three sons at 112 King Street, Egremont. Harry was working as a junior clerk for African Merchants.
The article from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour tells us that the following year, in 1912, Harry emigrated to New South Wales. When War broke out, Harry served first on HMAT Suevic, which was used to transport troops and supplies between England and Australia, but in November 1915 in Liverpool he joined the Royal Field Artillery.
He was assigned service number 681425 and posted to “D” Battery of 286 Brigade and joined other Liverpudlians in training. At some point, Harry was promoted to Bombardier.
After training, the Brigades left for France in early 1917 and were involved in the heavy fighting to defend the town of Armentières, on the French-Belgian border. In July 1917 they suffered their first attack by the new mustard gas. In late September the Brigade was relieved from the front line and withdrew for a period of training, and returned to the line at Langemark about 35km north of Armentières, not far from the small village of Passchendaele, which would be the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the War. On 9 October 286 Brigade returned to action engaging in harassing and destructive fire on enemy strongpoints, but also suffering their heaviest losses of the war so far, with many soldiers being gassed. Harry was reported missing in action on 11 October 1917 and it was later confirmed that he died that day (hence some records state his date of death as 12 October). Harry was 23 years old.
286 Brigade was to lose over 300 men before the end of the month, killed and wounded – almost half their full complement.
Service No: 681425
Date of Death: 11/10/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "D" Bty. 286th Bde.
Grave Reference: I. G. 6.
Cemetery: CEMENT HOUSE CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Sophie Hunt, of 95A King Street, Wallasey, and the late Edwin Hunt. Native of Liverpool.