Skip to main content
Twixt Branding

Return to search

Herbert Jackson

Date of birth: 1881
Date of death: 20.07.1918
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Mary Ann Jackson
Rank: Private
Service number: 205369

War Service

Herbert Jackson joined the army on 1st June 1917and was posted to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He underwent training in the signalling section prior to his departure to France, on 26th May 1918, to join the 5th Battalion, KOYLI.
As part of the re-organisation of the British Army, due to heavy losses in 1917, all infantry brigades were reduced from four to three battalions. On 2nd February 1918, the 1/5th and 2/5th KOYLI amalgamated to become the 5th KOYLI, part of 187th Brigade, 62nd Division. Throughout February the newly formed battalion provided working parties for the 176th and 185th Tunnelling Companies.
On 21st March 1918 the German Army launched a major offensive on a fifty mile front, from Croisielles to St Quentin. The Allied Armies were pushed back over twelve miles in two days. The 62nd Division was ordered to the Puiseux-Bucquoy area, with the 187th Brigade moving into support positions at Bucquoy, early on the 26th March. The German attack against Bucquoy came at noon and there followed days of hard fighting until the German attack was halted. The 5th KOYLI was engaged in the Rossignol Wood and Biez Wood area and incurred 392 casualties between 27th and 31st March, 278 of whom were recorded as missing.
The 25th May 1918 saw the German Army launch its third offensive of the year, this time aimed at the French, who were pushed back to the Marne. On 14th July 1918 the 62nd Division, which was to become part of the Allied counter-offensive, moved to the south of Chalons sur Marne, with the 5th KOYLI going to Bisseul. On 18th July the 5th KOYLI left Bisseul and marched overnight to Bois de Pourcy. The battalion was to attack on the right of the Divisional front, along the north bank of the River Ardre. The line of attack for the 187th Brigade was along a steep sided valley, through the Bois du Petit Champ.
At 8.00 hrs on the morning of 20th July, the 5th KOYLI advanced and made good progress until entering the Bois du Petit Champ. Here they came under heavy machine gun fire from the driveway of the Chateau Commetreuil and enfilade fire from the woods. Very few of the centre company survived the onslaught, though the company on the left pushed on but they were forced to withdraw to the edge of the wood. The 5th KOYLI incurred heavy casualties during this attack, one of whom was Signaller Herbert Jackson, who was hit by machine gun fire and died on his way to the dressing station.
Herbert Jackson is buried in the British Cemetery at Courmas, a village 11km south-west of Rheims. This cemetery was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from the British cemeteries in Courmas village and the Chateau. These were small cemeteries made by the 62nd (West Riding) Division, after the fighting of 20th July 1918. There are now over 200 First World War casualties commemorated at the British Cemetery at Courmas, about a quarter of whom are unidentified.

Family Life

Herbert Jackson was born in 1881, the son of Thomas and Pamela Jackson, formerly Jones, of Hoyland Nether near Barnsley. His father and brothers were employed as coal miners, however, when Herbert Jackson completed his education, he became an elementary school teacher. In 1911, Herbert Jackson, aged 29, was the head teacher of an elementary school and boarding at the home of Walter and Sophia Penny, at Thurlstone near Penistone. In 1912 he became the headmaster at Lofthouse Gate Council School and was living with his wife Mary Ann, at no 5 Hillside View, Outwood. At this time he was a prominent member of the Adult School Movement, a Primitive Methodist preacher and member of the Lofthouse Gate Brotherhood.

The graveyard of Courmas British Cemetery surrounded by a stone wall and trees Courmas British Cemetery

Return to search