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Source: Leicestershire War Memorials Project. Coalville Times - Roll of Honour:
Herbert Smith Hurst
Private, of the 8th Leicesters, killed in action, August 31st, 1915. He was a collier, formerly residing at Parsonwood Hill, Whitwick.
Coalville Times article - Friday September 24th, 1915
Two Whitwick Soldiers Killed - The result of an accident - Hand grenade prematurely explodes
We regret to report this week the deaths of two Whitwick soldiers, at the front, as a result of an accident. They were Private H. Smith Hurst, No 13172, whose parents, Mr and Mrs Bowley Hurst, reside at Parsonwood Hill, and Pte. Arthur Charles Johnstone, No. 12435, whose home was at Castle Hill, his father being Mr Robert Johnstone, who is employed at Messrs. Brown and Sons’ boot factory in Whitwick. Both men were in the ‘B’ company of the 8th Leicesters and the official notice received by their parents from the military authorities state that on August 31st, Pte. Hurst was accidentally killed by the exploding of a hand grenade and from the same cause Pte. Johnstone received wounds to which he succumbed the next day, September 1st. Hurst had gained a good reputation as a bomb-thrower and from letters received from other sources, it was learned that he was preparing to throw the grenade towards the German lines when it prematurely exploded.
WESLEYAN CHAPLAIN’S SYMPATHY
Mr and Mrs Hurst, a few days ago, received the following letter:
“Dear Mrs Hurst, - I expect by this time that the sad news of the death of your son has reached you and I hasten to assure you of my sincere sympathy in this time of trial and loss. As Wesleyan Chaplain, it was my duty to perform the last solemn rites. Side by side with the other brave comrades we laid him to rest in the corner of a quiet cemetery confident that by his willingness to die for the cause of right, he has proved his title to that unending life where eternal mercy shall arise and shadows end. Again, assuring you of my sympathy and prayers, I remain, yours sincerely.”
BEST BOMB-THROWER IN THE REGIMENT
The Chaplain of Hurst’s company wrote as follows:
“Dear Madam, - Please accept on behalf of myself and my brother officers of the ‘B’ Co., our deepest sympathy in the great loss you have had. I cannot speak too highly of your boy, who had shown himself to be so full of pluck and grit as to have earned the reputation of being the best bomb-thrower in our brigade. Always cheerful and conscientious, he will be sadly missed by all ranks. Had he been spared, I feel sure he would have added to his already well-earned reputation. He met his death by doing his duty and that is the consolation I can offer you in your great trouble and the knowledge that it is the grandest way of passing into the happier life. – Believe me, yours in all sincerity.”
H. L. Beardsley, Captain.
Pte. Hurst was 23 years of age and single. Before the war, he worked, like his father, at the South Leicestershire Colliery. He enlisted in August, 1914, but had only been at the front about five weeks. He was at Whitwick at the wake on leave.
Research undertaken and submitted (including photograph from the Coalville Times) by Andy Murby, 10/10/2017
- Conflict - World War I
- Cause of death - Accident With Grenade
- Burial Place - Mondicourt Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, NW Corner
- Other Memorials - Coalville War Memorial Clock Tower
- Memorial - ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHYRD. MEM., WHITWICK, LEICS
- Memorial - CLOCK TOWER MEM., COALVILLE, LEICS
- Memorial - COUNCIL OFFICE MEM., COALVILLE, LEICS