The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

 Captain B W Hougham


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Photograph by "Steve N"


Captain Bertram William HOUGHAM, 3rd Battalion,  Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment,  attached 5th Royal Berkshire, instantly killed by shrapnel just as his Company entered the village of Nurlu, North East of Peronne, 6th September 1918, age 22.

Born 1896, Faversham, Kent, only son of Bertram Lee/Larkin & Genia Bella Hougham, (nee Smith), late of Hilden Cottage, Hildenborough, and his father was then Manager of the Tonbridge Branch of the National Provincial and Union Bank of England, Ltd., but has since transferred to Deal.

Entering the School in January 1910, from Kent College, Canterbury, he left at Christmas 1913, and went to Paris to study the language. Returning in the following May, he was in his father's bank till November 1914, when he joined the Inns of Court Training Corps. He trained at Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire. He served as Lance Corporal 2393 in "C" & "K" Companies. He received a commission, June 13th 1915, in the Special Reserve of the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, but on going out to France in May 1916, was posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Princess Charlotte of Wales Royal Berkshire Regiment, and with this Battalion he served in the Battles of the Somme. In November 1916, he was invalided home, and on his return to France in January 1917, rejoined the 6th Berkshires, and with this Battalion, and subsequently with the 5th Berkshires, he saw much service on many parts of the British Front. He had been promoted Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of the West Kents, July 1st, 1917, and from March 26th, 1918, was a Company Commander and Temporary Captain in the Berkshire Regiment.

Letter from H.T.Goodland.Lt.Col.,Comdg. 5 R,Berkshire Regiment. - Dear Mr Hougham you will have heard officially by now of the death of your son, Captain B.W Hougham, who fell in action leading his company on September 5th. I cannot tell you how sorry we are and his loss is keenly felt by every officer and men of his battalion, and on their behalf I wish to express our deepest sympathy to you and his mother in your great Loss, I think he was generally loved by every one in the battalion, and although perhaps quiet and unassuming outwardly, I know his personality made itself felt. His gallantry in action was always marked and especially during this glorious battle he has always led his men with the greatest courage and dash. For his splendid work during the operations near Meault ,and Recordel, and Carney, August 22nd to 28th I have recommended him for the Military Cross ,and it is a great disappointment to me to know that he has not lived to receive it. His effects will be sent on to you, and I hope will reach you safely. I enclose a letter written by his servant who was with him when he fell, also one that arrived today. He was buried in the churchyard of the ruined church at Nurlu by our Chaplain, in the presence of all his brother officers and a cross has been made and erected. With kindest regards, believe me.

Buried at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, IV. M. 11., France. Commemorated at Union of London & Smith's Bank.

AWARDS: M.C.


Commemorated on Tonbridge War Memorial - Tonbridge War Memorial - The original World War I memorial at the Junction of Pembury Road and Quarry Hill. The names were later re-inscribed in the new Memorial Garden in Bradford Street. 

From Tonbridge History - Bertram William Hougham MC was born in Faversham in 1896, the son of Bertram and Genie. In 1911 he is recorded as living at South Lawn, London Road, Tonbridge and attending Tonbridge School. In 1914 he joined the Inns of Court. He joined the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment 3rd Battalion and went to France in June 1916 where he was attached to the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His gallantry in action earned him the Military Cross. He died on 6th September, killed by shrapnel as his company entered the village of Nurlu. He is buried in the Peronne cemetery extension. At the time of death his parents had moved to Hilden Cottage, Hildenborough.


London Gazette 12th June 1915.

The under mentioned member of the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps to be Second Lieutenant (on probation). Dated 13th June 1915. 

Bertram William Hougham, 3rd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment.

London Gazette 23rd June 1916.

The under mentioned 2nd Lieutenants, on probation, are confirmed in their rank: B W Hougham.

London Gazette 20th February 1918.

Special Reserve of Officers - Reserve Units - Infantry.

Royal West Kent Regiment. The under mentioned 2nd Lieutenants to be Lieutenants. - 1st July 1917. B.W.Hougham.

London Gazette 27th June 1918.

Royal Berkshire Regiment - The under mentioned to be acting Captains while commanding a Company:

Lieutenant B W Hougham (Royal West Kent Regiment, Special Reserve). 19th April 1918.

London Gazette 6th July 1918.

Royal Berkshire Regiment - Lieutenant B W Hougham (Royal West Kent Regiment, Special Reserve), from acting Captain while commanding a Company, to be acting Captain (additional). 14th May 1918.

London Gazette 7th October 1918.

The under mentioned to be temporary Captains:

Royal Berkshire Regiment - Lieutenant (acting Captain) B W Hougham (Royal West Kent Regiment, Special Reserve). 26 March 1918.

London Gazette 1st February 1919.

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following awards to the under mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field: 

AWARDED  THE MILITARY CROSS

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Bertram William Hougham, Royal West Kent Regiment, Special Reserve, attached 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.

For conspicuous gallantry on 22nd August 1918, at Meaulte. By a skilful disposition he prevented the enemy from breaking through on the left flank. Later, at Becordel, when his company was out of touch with the division on his left, he formed a defensive against heavy machine gun fire until his position was relieved. Later, again at Carway, he got his company forward through heavy machine gun fire and drove back the enemy. Throughout his cheerful disregard of danger was a great incentive to his men.


OBITUARY

Captain William Hougham, M.C. - 3rd Battallion Q.O. Royal West Kent Regt. Attached 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regt.

Killed in Action at Nurlu, N.E. of Peronne, September 6th, 1918. Aged 22.

Capt. B.W. Hougham was the only son of Mr and Mrs Betram Larkin Hougham, late of Hilden Cottage, Hildenborough, Kent and his father was then Manager of the Tonbridge Branch of the National Provincial and Union Bank of England, Ltd., but has since transferred to Deal.

Entering the School in January 1910, from Kent College, Canterbury, he left at Christmas 1913, and went to Paris to study the language. Returning in the following May, he was in his father's bank till November 1914, when he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. He received a commission, dated June 13th, 1915, in the Special Reserve of the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, but on going out to France in May 1916, was posted to the 6th (Service) Battallion of the Princess Charlotte of Wales Royal Berkshire Regiment, and with this Battalion he served in the Battles of the Somme.

In November he was invalided home, and on his return to France in January 1917, rejoined the 6th Berkshires, and with this Battalion, and subsequently with the 5th Berkshires, he saw much service on many parts of the British Front. He had been promoted Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of the West Kents, July 1st, 1917, and from March 26th, 1918, was a Company Commander and Temporary Captain in the Berkshire Regiment. On September 6th, 1918, he was instantly killed by shrapnel just as his Company entered the village of Nurlu, and was buried in the British Military Cemetery close to the ruined church.

The Chaplain wrote:-
"I miss him very much, as I could always depend on his sympathy and help in my work."

A Subaltern of his Company in the 5th Battallion. :-
"To know him was to like him. To live with and work under him was to learn how cheery and lovable a man he was and how true a gentleman."

His Company Commander in the 6th Battallion. :-
"His intense keeness and thought for his men endeared him to them all."

The C.O. of the 5th :-
"I think he was generally loved by every one in the Battalion, and although perhaps quiet and unassuming outwardly, I knew his personality made itself felt. His gallantry in action was always marked, and especially during this glorious battle he has always led his men with the greatest of courage and dash. For his splendid work during the operations near Meaulte and Becordel and Carnoy, August 22nd to 28th, I have recommended him for the Military Cross, and it is a great disappointment to me to know that he has not lived to receive it."

The award of the M.C. appeared in the Gazette of January 31st, 1919, dated February 1st, 1919.

Tonbridge School and the Great War 1914 - 1918.


This page was last updated on 24-Apr-2021.

Copyright © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason