Mrs Eleanor Hunt, a Chertsey widow, had four sons fighting at the front. Two of her sons, Richard and Herbert, were killed on the same day, at the battle of the Aisne on 9 September 1914. They were both Sergeants in the 1st Battalion the East Surrey Regiment.
Mrs Hunt’s family
William Robert Hunt, a carpenter of St Anne’s Road Chertsey, married Eleanor Mary Heath Harris of Windsor Street Chertsey, daughter of an upholsterer, on 4 June 1881 in St Peter’s Church Chertsey. In 1901 the family lived in 3 Finchley Villas, Drill Hall Road and there were four sons. Richard (18) was a carpenter, Herbert (15) was an Ironmonger’s errand boy, and Archibald (12) and Frederick (9) were still at school. By 1908 the family had moved to 33 Grove Road Chertsey, and Mr William Hunt died later that year.
Sergeant Herbert William Hunt, 8049 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, killed in action 9 September 1914
Herbert was born 27 February 1886 in Chertsey. He was baptised 9 May 1886 in St Peter’s Church and attended William Perkins School. Herbert joined the East Surrey Regiment 11 November 1903 aged 18. He married Elizabeth Cummins at Kinsale Cork 12 December 1913, and their son Herbert Charles Aisne Hunt was born 16 September 1914.
Herbert’s Medaille Militaire was sent to his mother with a letter from Colonel JR Longley who was commanding the 1st Battalion the East Surrey’s saying “I forward you a French decoration for your late son Sergt H Hunt which you will please pass on to his poor widow. Believe me indeed when I say how greatly we all feel the loss of your two sons, and deeply sympathise with you and the widow. I recommended your other son also for a similar decoration. They were both equally deserving of them: but unfortunately there was only one allotted to the battalion, and that is awarded to Herbert.” (French Decoration for Dead Sergeant. Epsom Advertiser 6 Nov 1914 page 3 column d.)
On 22 October 1914 Herbert’s possessions, two photos, a letter, a postcard, a lock of hair and identity disc were sent to Mrs Hunt at 19 Married Quarters Wellington Barracks Dublin; and on 26 September 1915 his Diploma of Medaille Militaire was sent to Mrs Hunt Ballyregan Kinsale Co Cork Ireland. In 1918 his wife remarried, so in 1921 his Mentioned in Despatches certificate was sent to Mrs Elizabeth Morgan 26 Married Quarters, Gandalorpe Barracks Bordon.
Sergeant Richard Henry Hunt, 7978 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, killed in action 9 September 1914
Richard was born 5 December 1882 in Chertsey. He was baptised 7 Jan 1883 in St Peter’s Church and attended William Perkins School. Richard enlisted with the East Surrey’s in 1902 served in the South African War. He served in Dublin 1912-1914. He was married with two sons, Richard George born 9 December 1913 and Lawrence Henry born 12 April 1915. In 1921 Richard’s Mentioned in Despatches Certificate was sent to his widow Mrs Rebecca Jane Hunt of 39 Marlborough Street Dublin.
Sergeant Archibald Thomas Hunt 30521 6 Mountain Battery Royal Garrison Artillery
Archibald was born in 1888, and was baptised 20 January 1889 in St Peter’s Church Chertsey. Archibald was a gunner in No 8 Mountain Battalion Royal Garrison Artillery serving in India when the 1911 census was taken. In 1923 he was living in 33 Grove Road with his mother Ellen.
Corporal Frederick Charles Hunt 3582 1st Life Guards
Frederick was born 24 February 1892, and was baptised 17 April 1892 in St Peter’s Church. In 1911 he was a cabinet maker living with his mother at 33 Grove Road Chertsey, and he enlisted as a Trooper in 1st Life Guards 20 August 1912.
Frederick was wounded in France. He had two bullet wounds in his right elbow 1 November 1914 and was treated in the Connaught Hospital in Aldershot. Frederick was transferred to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment 10 May 1918 and was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service 30 April 1919.
Back home in Chertsey, he soon set up in business again as a cabinet maker, and advertised in the local newspaper, “Mr F Hunt, who as Corporal in the Life Guards landed with the First Expeditionary Force in France, and fought throughout the War, is commencing business as a cabinet-maker, upholsterer, polisher etc. at 33 Grove Road.” (Surrey Herald 16 May 1919 page 5 column c.)
Service records on ancestry.co.uk
Census on ancestry.co.uk
Marriage and baptism records on ancestry.co.uk
1939 register on ancestry.co.uk
School admission registers on findmypast
Other newspaper reports
ESR Casualties – Two well-known sergeants amongst the killed. East Surrey Regiment scrapbook of press cuttings SHC ref ESR/1/12/11 page 4, 14 September 1914. (See Military records indexes)
Mentioned in Despatches – Officers and Men who have done Noble Service at the Front. East Surrey Regiment scrapbook of press cuttings SHC ref ESR/1/12/11 page 9, 24 October 1914. (See Military records indexes)
Daddy’s Medals. The Beverley Recorder and Independent on Saturday 13 February 1915 page 2. Includes a picture of Mrs Hunt holding her grandson whose father had been killed. The baby was wearing one of his father’s medals and looking at some other medals. Mrs Hunt is holding Herbert Charles Aisne Hunt, who had been born 16 September 1914, the day after his father Herbert and uncle Richard had been killed at the battle of the Aisne. (See this online on The British Newspaper Archive – free to use in Surrey History Centre and Surrey Libraries.)
In Memoriam – The Brothers Hunt. Surrey Herald 14 September 1917 page 5 column c. (See Newspapers)
Cabinet Making. Surrey Herald 23 May 1919 page 5 column c. (See Newspapers)