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.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Frank Walker joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion East Yorks in Sept 1914. He served as a private in France until being commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in July 1916 with the 11th Battalion East Yorks (2nd Hull Pals). During the 1st Battle of Ypres in April 1915 the 4th Battalion East Yorks were mentioned in a dispatch from Major General Edward Bulfin (Yorkshire Regiment Green Howards) the Commander of the 28th Division. Also mentioned for ‘good service’ in the dispatch were the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry and the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Frank was promoted to temporary Lieutenant in January 1918 and acting Captain on the 14th October 1918. Frank would survive the war. In November 1917 the Battalion were based at Mont St. Eloi near Arras. It was here leading raiding party action that, in January 1918, Frank would be awarded Military Cross. The award appeared in the London Gazette on the 23th April 1918. The citation read: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a daylight raid. He led his party across a long open stretch of ground to the enemy second line. After clearing the enemy trenches and taking prisoners he successfully effected a difficult withdrawal under heavy fire.’
John was born on the 4th January 1890 at East Witton in North Yorkshire and was the eldest son of John and Annie Maughan. They lived at Abbey Hill, a large house overlooking Jervaulx Abbey near Middleham, North Yorkshire. John senior was the agent for the Jervaulx estate. John was educated at Marlborough College. He was gazetted to a commission in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in 1909 and was promoted Captain on the 3rd November 1914. John went to France in April 1915 and was in action at the 2nd Battle of Ypres just a few days later. His distinguished service during this action resulted in him being ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ by Sir John French. On the 12th February 1916 the Battalion occupied trenches around Hill 60 near Ypres. Work was ongoing repairing trenches when on the 14th February the Germans began to bombard them. The enemy also exploded a mine which killed thirteen men. On the 17th February, ironically regarded as a relatively quiet day, some minor shelling resulted in John being hit and killed by shrapnel. Captain John Maughan was buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery. John’s name is commemorated on the War Memorial at East Witton.
When canvassing the local businesses for information about characters from the time of the First World War for our Ribbon of Remembrance, a major surprise came from Wendy, shop manager at the Castle Hill Bookshop. “You know what my name is?!” was her reply to the enquiry. Wendy Patch is the granddaughter of Harry Patch, the ‘Last Fighting Tommy’. Henry John Patch died on 25th July 2009, aged 111 years, having attained a level of celebrity that he can never have imagined at the time when he was No 2 on a Lewis gun team in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Harry was an apprentice plumber before he was conscripted into the army at the age of 18. He saw action at the Third Battle of Ypres, though his war came to an end on 22nd September 1917 following a German shell burst which killed three of his fellow Lewis gunners. Harry’s wound saw him hospitalised for 12 months. The Armistice came about while he was convalescing on the Isle of Wight. Following the war, Harry married Ada Billington, had two sons Denis and Roy and returned to work as a plumber. Harry only spoke about the war in the latter part of his life and when he did it was without any animosity towards the Germans who faced him across No-man’s Land. As one of the few Great War veterans who survived into the 21st century, Harry was invited to Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. He was…