2330344 Sigmn. Wright H C
Herbert Wright's loss is recorded on the Primary School Memorial, as the family moved from Hungerford before the war started.
Herbert Cyril Wright was a Signalman with the Royal Corps of Signals, serving with the 2nd Armoured Brigade and killed in action during the evacuation from Greece in April 1941.
The 2nd Armoured Brigade was made up of two tank regiments, 4th Hussars and 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. In support of these were the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (The Rangers), the 2nd Royal Horse Artillery and the Northumberland Hussars.
Attached to these was Herbert Wright from the Royal Corps of Signals.
Following the fall of Yugoslavia, in early April 1941, it was only a matter of weeks before Greece fell, despite heroic efforts by Greek, British, Australian, New Zealand and Polish troops. The Greeks surrendered on 24 April and by the 27th the Swastika was flying from the Acropolis in Athens.
In the confusion of the next three days, the allied forces retreated to the coast for another Dunkirk style evacuation. Regimental Diaries, where they exist for the period, lack any detail of troop movement. Even the death of Herbert Wright is recorded as between 27/30 April.
In the Greek campaign, the British and Empire forces lost 900 killed in battle, 1,200 wounded and 900 taken prisoner. 50,732 men were taken off the beaches and harbours.
He has no known grave but his name is engraved on the Athens Memorial.
It took me (Richard Amphlett) 18 months to research the Hungerford Town War Memorial.
The research into H C Wright illustrates the many problems of a project such as this and was one of the most frustrating.
It started sometime after I began looking at the names on the War Memorial. I received a telephone call from John Allen of Church Way, Hungerford, asking if I was aware of the Roll of Honour at the Primary School, which listed those killed who had attended at the school.
He remembered Herbert Wright, who at the time lived next door to the Allens in Atherton Crescent, with his widowed mother and brother, Vernon. John told me that he thought that Herbert had joined the Royal Marines but following investigation, I found that there was no marine of that name on the Roll of Honour.
My next course of action was to write to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who confirmed that there was no marine of that name. I then asked them to supply me with a list of all the H C Wrights killed in action, which amounted to six. For one there was no next of kin listed, 2 had relatives living overseas (in Canada and Australia) and the others were in Yorkshire, Hampshire and Gloucestershire.
Here was my problem:
1. Six names but I did not know which arm of the services he served with.
2. Where or when he was killed; or
3. Where his family moved to from Hungerford and when.
I could find no information at the Berkshire Records Office at Shire Hall, there was no-one of that name on the Voters List and I could not find a notification of his death in any issues of the Newbury Weekly News for the periods I had.
This was going to be impossible. I knew they had lived here because John Allen had lived next door. I had proof that young Wright had gone to school here and then learnt that Mr and Mrs Barnes (who now live in Sarum Way) had, in fact, moved into the Wrights' house when they vacated it in 1933/4. Mrs Barnes also remembered calling on Mrs Wright with groceries and being told that the Wrights were moving home shortly.
What I could not find out was where had the Wrights moved to.
One Friday morning I made arrangements to inspect the records held by Mr Blakeway in Bridge Street in the hope that additional information on all the names listed in this book would come to light. Because of the parking difficulties in Bridge Street, I decided to walk. This was providence in itself as I was stopped by Mrs Marjorie Eatwell, who asked how I was getting on with the book, as she had helped in the past with other information.
I explained to her where I was going and what I was looking for with regard to H C Wright.
She told me that she remembered Herbert Wright in his final year at the school, as she had just returned to Hungerford from Teacher Training College to take up a post here, the year was 1934.
The importance of what she said did not register with me until the afternoon and I telephoned her to confirm her statement.
Yes, she said, the year was 1934. Herbert would have been 14 years old. From my Commonwealth War Graves List, I was able to identify only one man who was born in 1920, the next nearest being 1921 and he was Herbert Wright.
This is a brief insight into the months of research into the losses for World War II.
Hungerford men were killed in action in every part of the world and on every war front - from Europe to the Deserts of North Africa, the jungles of Burma and the high seas of the North Atlantic. Some died on Active Service - these deaths might not have occurred if they had not gone to war and their sacrifice must be remembered.
The names of those killed were added to the War Memorial in 1947 and on 11 December of that year the Bishop of Reading held a Service of Dedication. He was joined by Lord Portal of Hungerford who said in his Address that the people of Hungerford could be proud of the sacrifice made by the men of the town, as the numbers lost from here was more than the average for the country as a whole.