Researched and written by Anne Wright
Acting Captain H B Mollman
4th Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians),
attd. 2nd Battalion of the same Regiment
Killed in action, 1.2.1917
Herbert Bernard Mollman was the son of parents of German birth but died fighting for Britain. He was born in Davos, Switzerland to August Lorenz Wilhelm Mollman and his wife Clara Eleonore (nee Loehuis) in 1893. August who was born on 12 November 1845 came from a long established family of Menslage, Hanover. His wife was born in London on 29 December 1858. The couple married in Berlin on 14 December 1883. Herbert was the youngest of their three children; his elder siblings were August Herman and Clara Mauritia. The family had moved to Britain by 1890 when their home was Northcrofts, Dulwich Common. When August became a naturalized British citizen in December 1900 he was a widower; Clara had died in 1898 and he lived at Woodsome Lodge, St. George’s Hill in Weybridge which would remain the family home. He was a general merchant.
Herbert began his military service with the Royal Sussex Regiment (1976) where he held the rank of Lance Corporal. He then transferred to the 4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment before being attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Leinsters. The 4th Battalion did not serve abroad but the 2nd did, landing at St. Nazaire on 12 September 1914. Herbert did not arrive in France until 1 December 1915 and joined the regiment at Ganspette (close to Calais) four days later as a Second Lieutenant. He spent his first months of combat in Belgium; in and around Ypres at Poperinghe, Zillebeke and Wulverghem. Herbert oversaw working parties, came under heavy shelling, machine gun and rifle fire and experienced gas alerts. By April 1916 his battalion was in trenches opposite Messines (south of Ypres). He was promoted to Lieutenant two months later.
Herbert’s unit was swept up into the Battle of the Somme; they fought in the Battle of Delville Wood (15 July-9 September) where they were engaged in vicious fighting in August. Delville Wood and the un-captured parts of Longueval had to be taken before the successful British attack of 14 July could be capitalised on. They went into the front line at Briqueterie near Carnoy on 18 August, by the end of the month they had suffered significant casualties: 4 officers killed, 1 wounded, 55 other ranks killed, 304 wounded and 41 missing. There was no respite; on 1 September they were in the front line at Longueval opposing an enemy in great strength. In just three days 2 officers were killed, 4 wounded, 30 other ranks killed, 114 wounded and 13 reported missing. Herbert had experienced some of the fiercest fighting of the war but had survived.
Five months later his battalion was in the Loos sector; on 31 January 1917 its War Diary recorded that Herbert was among officers who had been mentioned in despatches (London Gazette, 4 January 1917). At this point the 2nd Leinsters were in the front line at Maroc. The 1 February was a quiet day except for hostile aerial darts and rockets in the morning. Herbert was killed and one of his men was wounded.
On 9th February 1917 a brief notice appeared in the Surrey Herald:
“News has reached Mr. A. Mollman, of Woodsome Lodge, Weybridge, that his only surviving son, Capt. H. M. Mollman, of the Leinster Regt. was killed in action on Thursday of last week. The deceased officer was 24 years of age.”
H B Möllmann is listed on the Charterhouse School Roll of Honour. He attended Charterhouse from 1907 to 1911 where his name is recorded as Hubert Bernhard Möllmann. His entry in the List of Carthusians who served in the British and Allied Forces is annotated with an asterisk meaning he was Mentioned in Despatches.
August Herman Mollman appears on the 1901 census as a boarder at Charterhouse, Godalming. August was born on 13th April 1885, he became a Coffee merchant and died in Pontresina, Switzerland on 2nd August 1912.
August Möllmann senior contributed £50 towards the Charterhouse War Memorial.
His father continued to live in Weybridge until his death on the fourth anniversary of Herbert’s death in 1921. His funeral took place at St. James’ Church. A very wealthy man, he left £250 to benefit the poor of Weybridge. His daughter, Clara (Merrick) was his main beneficiary, his older son August having died in 1912.
Herbert is buried in the Maroc British Cemetery in the village of Grenay, 15 km south-east of Bethune.
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), www.longlongtrail.co.uk
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1993, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk
Mr A Mollman’s Legacy, St James’ Church Parish Magazine, November 1921, Surrey History Centre
Charterhouse World War I Memorial, http://charterhousewarmemorial.org.uk/default.aspx