REED, Horace Alfred.. M.C. MiD

Lieutenant, Horace Alfred REED M.C. MiD
Aged 21

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 14355, Sergeant, Cameron Highlanders
Died of his Wounds on Tuesday, 9th April 1918

Born 138 Harrow Road, on 15th November 1896 (qtr 4 Marylebone 1a:565 ) son of George Edward and Bertha REED (née MURTON). Baptised on 19th November 1896 at St.Mark's Marylebone Road.

1901 census...He has not been identified in this census. His mother was housemaid at The Fort, Out Southgate, Bury St.Edmunds for the Charton family.

His father had died before Horace was born.

1911 census...Aged 14,he was boarding at South Hill House, Southgate, Bury St.Edmunds with widow Susan Elizabeth ALDRIDGE. His widowed mother Bertha REED [49] was the cook/housekeeper

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds in Cameron Highlanders on 11th November 1914, He gave his age as 19 years, 5 feet high , weighing 163 lbs, chest b34 to 38 inches, a clerk, born Paddington. He specifically requested the Cameron Highlanders to be with comrades. Military Cross Gazetted 3-6-1918 T/2nd Lieutenant Horace Alfred Reed. During Battle of Lys April 1918. Mentioned in despatches April 7th 1918.

Reports all say he died of wounds and yet he has no known grave, in which case his body was not recovered or any grave was subsequently lost.

Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" has:
In April 1918 the 11th Suffolks (often referred to as the "Cambridgeshires") were at La Rolanderie with the 12th Suffolks nearby at Fluerbaix. On the 9th the Germans opened in intensive barrage south of the Lille railway but no attack developed along the 34th Division front. 101st Brigade ( of which 11th Suffolks were part) set off as Corps Reserves to the south of Bac St Maur. An hour later news came that the Germans had broken through the Portuguese front and were entering the 40th Division zone. With that, the 101st Brigade were ordered to cover the flank, but they found Bac St Maur occupied by the Germans and took up position facing west and south west near Fort Rompu and began fighting immediately.
A strange occurrence, when the Corps Reserve were actually the first to engage the enemy. Terrific fighting followed and on the 10th the Suffolks formed a defensive flank, beating off attack after attack. Twice the Germans broke through and twice were thrown back. At 3:20 pm they were ordered to withdraw to behind the River Lys. The struggle continued until on the night of 17th/18th when they were relieved, moving back first into reserve trenches and three days later back to Boeschepe.

These battles of the Lys cost the battalion nearly 500 casualties, CWGC figures give 116 dead. 64 of these were on the 9th April.

photo Rodney Gibson

Horace Reed is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belbium panel 3

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details