Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hugo Frederick Grantham

Hugo Frederick Grantham, pictured above, was the son of Frederick William Grantham. Born in April 1895, he was killed in action at Gallipoli on 28th June 1915 whilst serving with the 1st Essex Regiment. The battalion had arrived on the peninsular on 24th April that year.

The following extracts are from various publications, the first from page 77 of J.W. Burrows's, Essex Units in the War 1914 – 1919, Vol. 1, 1st Battalion The Essex Regiment:

The 88th Brigade supported an attack on H12 and H12a by the 156th Brigade of the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which was only partially successful, the casualties being very heavy. At 1 p.m. Essex received orders to co-operate with the 5th Royal Scots in again assaulting H12. It proved a task of insuperable difficulty, for the trenches were blocked with wounded and by the remainder of the 156th Brigade coming back. At 4 p.m. an attempt was made to bomb the enemy out by working up the communication trenches, but the outlets were held by snipers. Although impeded in this operation by the trenches being filled with casualties, a further effort was made, but it proved unsuccessful, the enemy pouring a heavy fire on front line trenches and on “No man’s land,” which stretched for 300 yards at this point. The losses included Capt. E. O. Warden, 3rd Essex, and 2nd Lieuts. C.A.B. Wood and H. F. Grantham, 1st Essex, killed, and other ranks, 11 killed, 49 wounded, and 12 missing, believed killed. In this engagement the attacking force wore pieces of biscuit tins on their backs. These shone like helios and enabled the artillery to control the protective screen of shrapnel. The enemy counter-attacked in considerable force in the early hours of the 30th, but the Essex were not seriously involved.

A little over two weeks later, on Friday 16th July 1915, The Essex Weekly News published the following article.

Yesterday it was announced that Lieut. Hugo Frederick Grantham, 1st Essex, was killed in action on June 28. Deceased was born in April 1895 and was the eldest son of Captain F. W. and Mrs. Grantham of Beeleigh Abbey, and Grandson of the late Mr. Justice Grantham. Educated at Cheltenham and Sandhurst, he was gazetted to the Essex Regiment in February of this year.

This from Wisden's Almanac:

2nd Lieut. Hugo Frederick Grantham, (1st Essex Regiment), grandson of the late Mr. Justice Grantham, was killed in action at the Dardanelles on June 28, aged 20. He was a very useful cricketer, playing for the Witham C.C., but did not obtain a place in the Eleven at Cheltenham.

The Times also published an obituary shortly after he was killed..

SECOND LIEUTENANT HUGO FREDERICK GRANTHAM, 1st Essex Regiment, eldest son of Captain F W Grantham and Mrs F W Grantham of Beeleigh Abbey, Essex and grandson of the late Mr Justice Grantham, who was born on April 15 1985, was killed at the Dardanelles on June 28. He was educated at Cheltenham where he obtained his football colours. He was also a very promising cricketer, making his century at an excellent match at the Whitham [sic. It should be Witham] Cricket Club, and carrying out his bat. He was gazetted in March of this year from Sandhurst, and commended for exceptional gallantry and coolness under most trying conditions in the action on June 4 by his colonel, and the Brigadier mentioned him in his dispatch.

Finally, De Ruvigny's also published Hugo's biography - adding additional snippets of information - next to the portrait photograph I have included on this page:

GRANTHAM, HUGO FREDERICK, 2nd Lieut, 1st Batt (44th Foot) Essex Regt. eldest s. of Captain Frederick William Grantham, who was killed in action 9 May 1915 (q.v.); b London W, 15 April 1895; educ at Cheltenham College (Head of House), and Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut Essex Regt 17 Feb 1915; served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles from end of May, 1915 and was killed in action there 28 June 1915. He was mentioned in Despatches for leading a bombing party, which evicted the Turks out of some British trenches they had taken, unm.

Hugo is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery about one kilometre south west of the village of Krithia in Turkey. He and his father are commemorated on the war memorials at Barcombe (Sussex) and Maldon (Essex). The photo below shows a detail from the Maldon War memorial.

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