Herbert Webb was born in Richmond on 5th April 1882. He followed his father, James into the Green Howards. Joining as a boy in 1900, promotion soon followed and he attained the rank of Col Sergt Major by October of 1914.
Attached to the 5th Battalion the Northumberland Fusiliers between May 1916 and October 1917 in order to improve disipline. Webb was present at the Battles of the Somme 1916, Arras 1917 and Ypres 1917. He was wounded at Armentieres on 11th April 1918 while acting as Adjutant to the 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. Webbs was twice mentioned in dispatches and eventually promoted to a commission. After returning to the line Herbert was again wounded and taken prisoner at Chemin des Dames on 27th May 1918.
German POW camp records show that he was moved by July to a camp at Limburg, to the West of Frankfurt and then via two others until by November 4th 1918 he was in a Camp, Kamstigall, on a spit of land far to the East just West of present day Kallingrad, in Russia. At that time it was in Poland and called Pillau, now Baltiysk. He survived his time in the German prison camps and retired in March 1920.
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Information submitted by Liz Thompson, a resident of Richmond. Michael Joseph Kavanagh (Liz’s Great-Uncle) was born in Walsall, Staffordshire on 20 February 1879. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment, serving in the Boer War in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal and at Wittegbergin. At the outbreak of the First World War he reenlisted into the same regiment as a Private and advanced to the rank of Colour Sergeant. He was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in January 1915 and promoted to Lieutenant in September of the same year. He was wounded twice during the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross. The citation published in the London Gazette stated “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Though knocked over and wounded by a shell, he took over command of a machine gun company two days later, and, suffering from shock and considerable pain, stuck to his command and did good work”. He was promoted to Acting Captain on 8 March 1918. On his retirement in November 1919, Michael Joseph Kavanagh was granted the full rank of Captain. In later life Captain Kavanagh moved into local politics, being elected to the position of Mayor of Walsall in 1945. During the Second World War he served as Platoon Commander of No. 21 Platoon of the 27th Staffordshire Home Guard.
William Hird was nominated for the Ribbon of Remembrance by Dianne Evans, and his story illustrates a problem that can occur with records that are a century old. Thanks to the original 1914-16 enlistment leger at the Green Howards Museum, we can say with some confidence that William enlisted on 10th December 1914 in the City of Durham and that he was posted to the 3rd Battalion, based at West Hartlepool on 18th January 1915. According to his medal card 18390 Acting Lance Corporal William Hird served in France from 19th September 1915, and was entitled to the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. William is recorded on the ‘Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919’ database as having died on 29 September 1916 as a Private in the 7th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. This might have been the case, but on examining the battalion war diary, the 7th Battalion were away from the frontline in training and there are no records of any deaths that day. Of course soliders would often die from wounds days after an offensive, however the Green Howards Gazzette for December 1916 records that 18390 W Hird was Killed in Action – there is a separate list for those who Died of Wounds. On further investigation, the Register of Soldier’s Effects lists William as being in the 6th Battalion when he was killed in action in France. The war diary of 6th battalion recounts the attempted assault on ‘Stuff Redoubt’…
Researched by Katy Douthwaite Cecil Christian Jervelund was born in 1891, the son of a Danish Merchant, Albert Neilson Jervelund, becoming a naturalised British citizen in 1889. Before joining the army, he worked as a Clerk at the local Iron and Steel Works. Charles, his elder brother was a regular Officer in the Yorkshire Regiment and served in India, South Africa and Bermuda. Cecil had been an Officer with the 4th Yorks since 1913 and went to France with them on 18th April 1915. On May 24th, at Hooge, the Germans launched a devastating gas attack, in which 30 Green Howards were killed in action, 70 were wounded and 98 were missing. The heavy toll included Cecil, who was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of gas. After recovering and returning to his unit, Cecil was promoted to Captain on 16th February 1916. He survived the War and appears again in October 1920 when he was once more made a Captain in the 4th Yorks Battalion after they reformed as part of the new Territorial Army. He married Marguerite D Mangin in Ripon, Yorks in 1918 and died in 1942 at Middlesbrough.