Herbert John Friend

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Herbert John Friend

Researched by John Mills

Herbert was born on the 16th June 1885 in India. He was baptised on the 8th July 1885 at St John’s Church in Meerut. He was the son of George Friend, a Lance Corporal in the Kings Own Scottish Borders. Nothing is known about Herbert’s childhood and early life. In fact the next that is known about Herbert is that he is a soldier with the Yorkshire Regiment.

His service number, 9970, would indicate that he joined around December 1911 and was in the 2nd Battalion. He had been stationed at The Curragh at some point and while there he met his future wife Nora who lived nearby on the Harrison Estate in County Kildare. They were married on the 21st January 1916 while Herbert was home on leave from France. He attained the rank of Corporal on the 31st October 1914 and by October 1916 was a CSM.

Herbert would survive the war and by 1919 he was part of the Expeditionary force sent to the Archangel area of Russia to assist the White Russians against the Bolsheviks. This campaign is well documented for the severe conditions and brutality. By September 1919 he was on his way home but in a poor state of health.
Herbert and Nora settled in Reading and had two children, George and Enid. On the 14th January 1924 Herbert left the service’ He was given a presentation clock, the inscription reading ‘A token of esteem from members of the Mess to Coy Sgt Major Friend 2nd Bn. The Green Howards on leaving the service’.

Sadly Herbert died from pulmonary tuberculosis on the 18th November 1928 aged just 43. He was awarded a posthumous Military Medal. His wife Nora had also contracted tuberculosis. She returned to live in County Kildare with her children and, also sadly, died soon after. Their son George joined the RAF in 1938 and was killed in action on the 23rd July 1941.

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