WOODLEY, Herbert Godfrey

No.23273, Private, Herbert Godfrey WOODLEY
Aged 28

1st/6th Battalion, Essex Regiment
formerly 16669, 10th Essex
Killed in Action on Saturday, 3rd November 1917

Herbert Godfrey Woodley was born in Ashdon (Saffron Walden Q2-1889 4A:650), baptised in Ashdon on 16th July 1890, son of Frederick and Mary WOODLEY (née WEBB).

1891 census...Aged 2, (Herbert G) he was in Ashdon with his father Frederick WOODLEY[29] farm labourer, born Radwinter; his mother Mary [26] born Helions Bumpstead; sister Ethel [4] born Helions Bumpstead; brother Victor J.[3] born Ashdon.

1901 census...Aged 12 (Godfrey H) he was at The Cottage, Ruddock House, Radwinter with his parents (father now horsekeeper); sisters Ethel, Ellen [3] Ivy [2] both born Ashdon, and Lily [2 months] born Radwinter; brothers Victor, William B [6] and Oscar [5] both born Ashdon.

1911 census...Aged 22 (Herbert G) a farm labourer, he was at Endway, Castle Camps with his parents (father farm labourer); brothers Victor William, William and Frederick Oscar Osborne (all farm labourers), Thomas Morris [9] and Frank Reginald [4] both born Ashdon; sisters Ellen O.Ella and Ivy Rosetta, Ella May [5] born Ashdon and Doris Lilly [11 months] born Cambridge. His mother had borne 14 children but lost three.

So far the only Helions Bumpstead connection documented is his mother and sister Ethel's birth there, but "Soldiers Died have him resident in Helions Bumpstead so it appears that they moved on after 1911. His brother's CWG entry gives the address as Hampstead Green, Helions Bumpstead. At the end of the day it may be down to where you draw the line between Castle Camps and Helions Bumpstead.

The pension card for the brothers puts their mother at Holmstead (sic) Green, Helions Bumpstead, Essex.Should be Olmstead

His brother William died of his wounds in Belgium in 1916 serving in the West Yorkshire Regiment see here

He enlisted in Haverhill.
The 1/6th Battalion, Essex Regiment had just attacked and captured Beach and Sea Posts on the 2nd November, before attacking the Rafa Redoubt and trench systems. This was part of a diversionary attack on Gaza to facilitate the taking of Beersheba. The 1/6th Essex had only four killed on the 3rd November, presumably withdrawn to Reserve?
In an article in the Helions Bumpstead magazine of September 2014 it is stated that he was reported as killed in action. He had been wounded at the Somme in France by a bullet, spent time recovering in England and then, still with the bullet in his arm, posted to Palestine where he died in shellfire..

That does seem odd given the medical expertise available even in those days.

photo:Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Herbert Woodley is buried in Gaza War Cemetery, grave 22:D:2

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

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