HUBERT TUNSTALL 

Rank: Private
Service Number: CH/17390.
Regiment: 1st RM Bn. Royal Marine Light Infantry Killed In Action Friday 26th October 1917 Age 23County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: N/A
Belgium

 

Son of Mr. William Henry Tunstall, and Louisa Catherine Tunstall of Eden Cottage, Church Lawton and husband of Mrs Elsie Tunstall (nee Cumberbatch). They were married at St. Mary’s Church, Astbury, Congleton, Cheshire in 1916. In 1911, he resided with a Mr. Samuel Hollinshead at Dayshire Green, Smallwood near Sandbach, where he was employed as a servant on a farm, he had two sisters Edie Ann and Minnie, along with three brothers, William Henry, James and Percy Edward.

He enlisted on the 27th of March 1912 and was a Soldier of the Line at the outbreak of war serving with the Royal Marine Brigade (Chatham Battalion) On the 6th February 1915 the Plymouth and Chatham Battalions entrained at Shillingstone near Blanford and moved to Devonport, at 6pm the Chatham Battalion sailed on the Cawdor Castle enroute to Gallipoli. They arrived at St Pual's Bay, Malta on the 14th February, departing three days later for Tenedos arriving there on the 21st. On the 28th April the Chatham and Portsmouth battalions were ordered to land near Gaba Tepe and come under the orders of the 1st Australian Divsion. On completion at 8pm they were ordered to take over No2 section of the defences to the western edge of the Lone Pine Plateau.

At the end of the Gallipoli campaign they moved to France arriving in Marseilles in May 1916 and they took part in the following engagements.

The Battle of the Ancre (Somme) 13th - 18th November
Operations on the Ancre January to March 1917
The second battle of the Scarpe (23-24th April 1917) Arras Offensive
The Battle of Arleux (28-29th April 1917) Arras Offensive

Hubert was killed in action during the Second Battle of Passchendaele (26th October - 10th November 19117)  which was a phase of the Third battle of Ypres  

The War Diary of The Royal Naval Division records that on the 25th and 26th of October 1917 the weather was brilliantly fine, but at 03: 30 hours on the 26th it suddenly broke and rain was continuous throughout the day. The already heavy going was thereby made considerably worse and the difficulties of the attack greatly increased. Thanks to the careful preparations, which had been made, the assaulting troops were formed up without a hitch and practically without casualties. The attack was launched at 05 40 hours, two minutes later the enemy put down his barrage exactly on the line expected. As the troops had been assembled in front of this line, very little damage was done by the enemy fire and the advance was not checked. By 07 20 hours it was reported that the Anson Battalion had captured Varlet Farm and 50 prisoners had been taken after a stiff fight, half an hour later a pigeon message was received saying that Banff House had been captured and was being consolidated with a position 150 yards in front of it. In the centre, progress had not been so good, and the attack appeared to be held up on the road between Bray Farm and Wallemolen. On the 27th, about midday it was established that the Anson Battalion was consolidating in the neighbourhood of Source Trench and an unconfirmed report stated that " portions of the Howe Battalion had been pushing forward towards Source Farm, all going well". The situation of the Marine Battalion at this time was not quite clear, but it appeared that the 1st Battalion, the Royal Marines under Lieutenant Colonel H. Zanne D.S.O., had gained their objectives on the left but were held up in the centre, just east of the Wallemolen to Bray Farm Road. There was practically no news of the 2 nd Battalion, the Royal Marines but they had apparently been held up on the same line, where the companies were now intermixed with those of the 1st Battalion. Information was received on the 28th from the 3rd Canadian Division that their advanced troops had been forced back and that they now held the line of the first objective and wished to form an S.O.S. line just in front of this area. It was, at this time, impossible to agree to this plan so far as the inter divisional boundary was concerned as the location of the Howe detachment, which had been seen going forward was still uncertain. About 15 30 hours however, it became clear that there were no troops east of source trench. The Canadian Division was informed accordingly and the artillery covering the right of the front was given an S.O.S. line 400 yards in front of the first objective. Later in the day the sole survivors (15 men) of the detachment, which had succeeded in reaching the neighbourhood of Source Farm, re-joined the Battalion through the Canadian lines. They reported that they had suffered heavy casualties from rifle and machine gun fire during their advance and that their officers had been killed. The survivors had endeavoured to consolidate their position and gained touch with the Canadians on their right, but the German counter attack had eventually compelled all the troops in this neighbourhood to withdraw. On the 29th, the remainder of the Howe Battalion were now reported to be intermixed with the Anson Battalion in the vicinity of Varlet Farm and Source Trench, having found it impossible owing to heavy artillery and machine gun fire, to make any further advance. Towards nightfall on the 30th, a message was received at Brigade Headquarters from the Officer Commanding, the 1st Royal Marines that his troops in Banff House had been forced to withdraw and that they now held Berks House as his most advanced post. Whence his line turned back westward to the shaft. Orders were at once issued for the line to be re-established by the reserve company, but this operation was only partially successful and the most advanced post on the left flank, during the night of the 26th/27th was just west of Bray Farm. Information that was received later shows that early in the morning of the 26th, elements of the 2nd Royal Marines, supported by consolidating machine guns, had succeeded in crossing the Paddlebeek, east of Banff House in the face of considerable opposition and had established themselves about 200 yards beyond the stream. Here they were subjected to considerable rifle fire and sniping from both flanks and especially from the north of the Lekkerboterbeck and about midday a strong party of the enemy attempted to work round their flank from the north. The Marine's rifles were so choked with mud that practically none of them could be fired, but the attack was beaten off by the machine guns and when the machine guns had become clogged with mud, by the rifles of the machine gunners. Towards evening, after they had suffered heavy casualties, and lost all their officers, this detachment finding both its flanks in the air, unfortunately decided to fall back across the Paddlebeek and there can be little doubt that it was the sight of these men retiring which accounted for the withdrawal from Banff House. It was during the events that took place on the 26th of October that Private Herbert Tunstall was killed in action.

Hubert's body wasnt recovered and so he is named on Tyne Cot Memorial. Panel 1 and 162A










Cheshire County Memorial Project would to thank John and Christopher Pullen for information on Hubert.