Philip Mayne was the last surviving British officer from World War One to die. He died at the age of 107 years and 139 days at a care hostel in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 2007.
Philip’s war service was was brief and he never saw any action. However he was the last verteran to die who held the rank of officer.
This happened thanks to a cadetship into the Royal Engineers which meant he was fast-tracked to second lieutenant — the lowest officer rank — in September 1918 at the age of just 18. The war ended six weeks later and he was demobilised on Christmas Eve 1918 without having set foot in France. Following the war he studied at Cambridge and became an engineer.
With a birth date of 22 November 1899, Mr Mayne was alive in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. At his death he had three children, eight grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren.
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The Stansfeld family have many connections with the regiment. Both Thomas and his brother older brother ‘Jock’ served with the regiment in 1880s and 1890s. Thomas’ son and nephew also joined the regiment and both saw action in the Second World War. Thomas Wolryche Stansfeld was born in Leeds in 1877. He joined the regiment in 1897 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. Stansfeld fought in the War in South Africa including the Battle of Paardeberg. Stansfeld was a skilled rider and joined the regiment’s Mounted Infantry Battalion. He was involved in many actions against the Boers, including the capture of the Elandsfontein railway station near Johannesburg. He narrowly escaped death when a bullet smashed into his cigarette case, leaving him unharmed. Stansfeld’s battlefield experiences were a major asset to the regiment in the First World War. During the First Battle of Ypres he ordered his company to rapidly fire at different intervals; fooling the Germans into believing that they were facing a nest of machine guns. Stansfeld survived the battle and fought throughout the First World War. After the war Stansfeld held a number of senior posts, including Commandant of the Small Arms School at Hythe. He retired from the Army in 1929 and died on the 23rd February 1935.
Kevin Robinson of Dalton on Tees visited the Green Howards museum to tell us about his great great grandfather, Sergeant Henry Robinson MM. Henry joined the Yorkshire Regiment (the Green Howards) as a very young man and soon left the UK to serve in the Boer War. Henry had several service numbers during his career with the earliest (and therefore a low number) being 421. On returning from the Boer war he then went to serve in the First World War both in France and Belgium, Henry and his division engaged in 2nd & 3rd Battle of Ypres, 1st & 2nd Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Arras to name a few. He is believed to have been a very accomplished horseman. His army career spanned some 4 decades as a Territorial reservist. During this time he picked up a proud chest-full of medals including the Military Medal awarded 10th October 1916. Adding a Bar to his MM in October 1918, other medals believed to be Queens South Africa Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal with Oak Leaf (Mentioned in Despatches). Henry was also a Hero when not serving his country he was serving children with fun, Henry and his wife Elvira lived in a motor home at Derby Street / Cooper Street / Canon Street Common in Middlesbrough. They operated several fun fair rides which included swing boats and a roundabout. They continued to run the fun fair rides for several decades into the…
Submitted by Christine Gayton Private Alfred Arthur Hibben was my great uncle Private Hibben served in his home regiment, The 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment (R.W.K.). He was born in Dartford Kent and enlisted on the 1st of April 1914 at Gravesend Kent. He was 5 foot 4 inches tall, weighed 109 pounds and worked as a plumber’s mate. His age was stated as 17 years, 248 days but in fact, he was only aged 16 having been born in the last 3 months of 1898! He was posted to France on the 31st of January 1915, which still made him under the 19 years minimum required to fight abroad ( in reality he was still only 17). On the 22nd of July 1916 the 1st R.W.K. attacked the south east corner of High Wood. No significant gains were made in this assault but the R.W.K. suffered 420 casualties, approximately 50% of those who went over the top. Private Alfred Arthur Hibben was one of these soldiers and was therefore presumed killed on the 22nd of July 1916 aged 18 years. His body was not recovered but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11C, France. The photograph shows Alfred aged 2 with his parents Arthur and Elizabeth and baby sister Ivy.