Rank: Private
Service Number: G/3453.
Regiment: 2nd Bn. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) Killed In Action Sunday 16th May 1915 Age 17
Commemorated\Buried LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 4 and 5.

Herbert was born at home in Picton Nr Chester in the Parish of Pickton and Plemonstall St Peter. Interestingly in the 1901 census Herbert is listed as age 5, (this maybe a mistake) his father Charles age 50 is working as a farm labourer, his wife Mary Hannah 44, they have four other children, Frances 13, Fred 11, Louisa 9, and Wilfred 1. By the time the 1911 census was taken Mary was a widow, Charles passed away on 19 October 1910 in Chester, Cheshire, at the age of 61. The census shows they had 12 children of which 3 had died. Herbert is listed as age 13 and his younger brother Wilfred 11 are the only two children living with Mary.

His mother Mary Hannah passed away in 1922 in Chester, Cheshire, at the age of 66.

In 1911, Herbert Dentith may have become a member of The Scout Association while living in Picton nr Mickle Trafford, Cheshire. as did younger brother Wilfred Dentith.

Herbert lied about his age to join the Army on the 10th Novemember 1914. He told the recruiters he was 19, when infact he was only 16.

Surrey History Centre holds a rough register of recruits to QRWS c.1914-16. It contains only very brief entries and contains the following relating to Herbert:

3453, Dentith, H, aged 19, enlisted for 3 years on 10 November 1914

Herbert enlisted in a Service battalion of the Queen's and subsequently transferred to the 2nd Bn. Guildford was home to three Service battalions: 6th Bn (August 1914: K1), 7th Bn (September 1914: K2) and 8th Bn (September 1914: K3). It noted no reference to another battalion in his medal rolls entries

7th Div, which included 2nd Queen's in 22nd Bde, had been badly depleted by the end of First Ypres:"the Division suffered such heavy casualties it took until 1915 to rebuild up to full strength".

Herbert was transferred from a Service battalion to the 2nd in response to this shortage of men. He arrived in France on the 12th April 1915. The battalion war diary shows that a draft of 58 NCOs and men joined while they were in billets on the 13th. Herbert more than likely was amongst these. The battalion remained in billets until the 8th of May, the following day an attack was made on the German lines, the Queens were moved into the British support lines where they stayed for the day. On the 10th they moved back into billets, they would remain there for five days, on the 15th they moved back into line in preparation for an attack.

22nd Bde attacked at 03:15 on the 16th May, 2nd Queen's and 1st RWF being the assaulting battalions. Fired upon heavily right from the start they took the German front line some 75-150m away and consolidated it, then pressed on to a position about a kilometre ahead called the North Breastwork. The Queen's reached it about 06:00, and the Royal Welch about 50 minutes later but by 09:00 the attack had stalled, in large part to the heavy casualties incurred. Young Herbert was one of them. The war diary for 16th reads: During the night 15th/16th there were serval showers of rain. At 2:45am the bombardment of the enemy trenches and wire commenced and continued till 3:15am. At 3:15am the leading platoons of A coy. rushed the German trenches to their front. It was now just about daylight. As soon as our men showed their heads above the parapet the enemy opened intense rifle fire and seemed in no way affected by the artillery bombardment. The remaining two platoons of A Coy. followed the first line at an interval of 50 yards and B Coy. did likewise but when the first line of C Coy. had gone the enemy fire seemed as hot as ever. Our artillery was asked to open again on the enemy trenches, the second bombardment took affect and lasted quater of an hour and then the remaining half of C Coy. and all of D Coy. were able to get along and force the enemy to leave his trenches. The majority of casualties amongst officers and men occured between our own lines and those of the enemy. The remaining officers and men about 230 advanced beyond the captured German line towards their final objective as shown on the sketch. The 800 yards was covered quickly with very little oppostion. Two more so called German lines were passed and also La Quinque Rue. There were many Germans dead in them. The final objective, the German trench at M6 was reached about 6am where we connected up with the Staffords on our right and part of the Warwicks and RWF on the left. Throughout the day the enemy heavily shelled the orginal British line and the captured German first line, at about 3:30pm we ourselves were subject to H.E shell fire from both flanks, many men were wounded because the posostion became untenable. The remains of the Queens, Welsh Fusiliers and Warwicks withdrew at about 7:30pm and occupied the first line of the German trenches captured in the early morning. 

The diary finishes with the folowing The battalion had done what was asked of it but at great cost.

27 Officers went in, 19 were either killed or wounded. 962 other ranks attacked, 435 were killed, wounded or missing.

Herbert has no known grave, there is however a memorial to him on the family headstone at St. Peters Church, Plemstall.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Simon Gildea for reseraching and compling this information on Herbert