Researched and written by Anne Wright
Pte H Izzard
6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment
Killed in action, 11.10.1918
Henry Izzard was not a native of Weybridge but made it his family home; his three sons were all born in the town. His parents William and Martha (nee Hawthorn) were married at St. Lawrence’s Church, Chobham on 25 August 1866. They went on to have nine children: George, Rosina, William, Henry, Louisa, Elizabeth, Lily, Ellen and Alfred. Henry was born in Chobham on 2 July 1881 and baptised there at St. Saviour’s Church on 11 September in the same year. In 1901 Henry was still at the family home in Chobham with his parents and four siblings; he was earning his living as a labourer, as did his father. By1911 he was a jobbing gardener and was a family man himself, having married Alice Edith Rose Evans towards the end of 1907.They had three sons: Leonard Henry (b.1908), William Alfred (b.1909) and Herbert Edward Horton (b.1910). They lived in Radnor Road before moving to 24, Calvert Cottages, Glencoe Road, Portmore Park which was to be their home for many years.
Henry enlisted in Weybridge. He initially served with the Army Service Corps (214224) before transferring to the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment which from March 1915 was part of the 50th Brigade in the 17th (Northern) Division. The 6th Dorsetshires arrived at Boulogne on 14 July 1915 and remained on the Western Front. It is not known when Henry joined the Battalion but he was not involved in any theatre of war against the Germans before December 1915 as he did not receive the 1914-15 Star campaign medal. Whenever he joined he would have seen some of the most significant fighting in the European theatre of war. They took part in the Battle of Albert (1-13 July1916), the opening action of the Battle of the Somme, where they captured Fricourt on the second day. This was followed by involvement in 1917 in the Arras Offensive (April-June) and the Third Battle of Ypres (‘Passchendaele’, July-November).
Henry was certainly with the 6th Dorsetshires in October 1918. This year had been just as active as the preceding three involving the first (March-July) and second (August-September) Battles of the Somme and the Battles of the Hindenburg Line (September-October) to dislodge the Germans from their defensive strongpoints. By the time of Henry’s death they were well into the final Hundred Days to defeat the enemy at last. At the beginning of October he and his comrades were in training at Lemesnil. They moved to Gouzeaucourt on the 6th and to Selvigny on the 8th ready to attack on the 10th. This was part of the pursuit of the Germans to the R. Selle (near Le Cateau). The battalion was to be on the left as the 50th Brigade moved forward; they captured Audencourt, Beaumont and Inchy but then came under heavy machine gun and shell fire from Bethencourt. The Brigade was ordered to attack Neuvilly with the Dorestshires playing the ‘mopping-up’ role. The attack was repulsed even though the battalion got into Neuvilly; they came under heavy machine gun fire from the houses and had to retreat. The attack was launched again on 11 October at dusk. The Dorsetshires were to attack Neuvilly with the West Yorkshires. The leading company of Henry’s battalion got through to the R. Selle but came under heavy machine gun fire from the Germans on the opposite bank. Heavy casualties were sustained; the battalion suffered 18 fatalities of which Henry was one. Just one month later the Armistice was agreed.
He was buried in Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery (I.E.2); Montay is a village on the northern outskirts of Le Cateau and the cemetery was established in late October 1918. It was extended after the Armistice when bodies were brought in from smaller surrounding cemeteries including the River Cemetery, Neuvilly on the bank of the R. Selle, which was made by the 6th Dorsetshires and contained the graves of 18 of their men who perished on 11 October.
Henry’s wife remained a widow for 61 years until her death in 1979 aged 91; she continued to live in Glencoe Road until at least 1945. Their three sons also stayed in Surrey: Leonard died in 1981, William in 2002 and Herbert in 1994. A cross in Henry’s memory is often left at Weybridge’s War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday.
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages, 1745-1937, www.ancestry.co.uk