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Robert HEBDEN

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Surname: HEBDEN

Forename(s): Robert

Place of Birth: Waterfoot, Lancashire

Service No: 29/618

Rank: Private

Regiment / Corps / Service: Northumberland Fusiliers

Battalion / Unit: 12th (Service) Battalion

Division: 21st Division

Age: 36

Date of Death: 1917-04-02

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: Bay 2 and 3.

CWGC Cemetery: ---

CWGC Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: BARNOLDSWICK, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

Robert Hebden was the son of Stephen and Betsy Hebden, née Slater? Stephen was born at Blackburn, Lancashire and Betsy at (Thick Bank?) Kelbrook, Yorkshire.

1881 Waterfoot, Lancashire Census: Ashworth Street - Robert Hebden, aged 1 year, born Newchurch, Lancashire, son of Stephen and Betsy Hebden. [Two brothers of Robert - William and Henry, named in this census, were living at Barnoldswick, Yorkshire in 1911.]

1891 Waterfoot, Lancashire Census: 8, Strasburgs Buildings - Robert Hebden, aged 11 years, born Waterfoot, son of Betsy Hebden (married).

1901 Rawtenstall, Lancashire Census: 455, Bacup Road - Robert Hebden, aged 21 years, born Waterfoot, Lancashire, son of Betsy Hebden, widow.

Robert was married to Clara Dewhurst in 1906. Clara was the sister of Lance-Corporal William Dewhurst (67733) (q.v.) and Private Thomas Dewhurst (270379) (q.v.).

1911 Barnoldswick, Yorkshire Census: 9, Hartley Street - Robert Hebden, aged 30 years, born Waterfoot, Lancashire, husband of Clara Hebden; William Hebden, son, aged 2 years, born Barnoldswick. [William died later that year and was buried in St Mary-le-Ghyll Churchyard, Barnoldswick.]

Robert Hebden survived the sinking of the R.M.S. 'Lusitania' on 7 May 1915, but his wife, Clara, lost her life. She is buried at Barnoldswick in St. Mary-le-Ghyll Churchyard.

Another 'Lusitania' link to the Craven area occurred on the 5 September 1917, when a Silsden born sailor, Ordinary Seaman John Clark (J/66434) (q.v.), was serving on H.M.S. ‘Stonecrop’ when it was pursuing the German submarine U-88. In the pursuit U-88 probably hit a British laid mine and sank. There were no survivors. The captain of U-88, Walther Schwieger, was captain of the U-20 when it sank the 'Lusitania'.

Robert was married to Mary Ann Nutter in 1916. Mary Ann was the cousin of Private Harry Nutter (202828) (q.v.) and Private Wilfred Ewart Nutter (38487) (q.v.).

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Pte Robert Hebden, 29/618, 22 [nd] North'd Fus. K. in A.

British Army WW1 Medal and Award Rolls: Pte Robert Hebden, 29/618, 22nd North'd Fus.; 12th North'd Fus. K. in A.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Pte Robert Hebden, 29/618, 12th Bn Northd Fusiliers. Date and Place of Death: 2.4.17. In Action. To whom Authorised/Amount Authorised: Widow - Mary A. £4 18s. 6d.

On the 10 August 1917, the 12th (Service) Bn Northumberland Fusiliers amalgamated with the 13th (Service) Bn Northumberland Fusiliers to form the 12th/13th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers.

A short biography of Robert is included in: ‘Barnoldswick - A small Town’s part in conflicts 1800 to 2014’ by Peter Ian Thompson (2014).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

HEBDEN, Robert, aged 36 years, Northumberland Fusiliers, Church Street, [Barnoldswick], killed in action.

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Private Robert HEBDEN

Private Robert HEBDEN

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Northumberland Fusiliers

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Northumberland Fusiliers

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 21st Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 21st Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: HEBDEN

Forename(s): Robert

Born: Barnoldswick, Yorks

Residence:

Enlisted: Keighley, Yorks

Number: 29/618

Rank: Private

Regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers

Battalion: 12th Battalion

Decorations:

Died Date: 02/04/17

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

Notes:

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: HEBDEN

Forename(s): Robert

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 29/618

Rank: Private

Regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers

Unit: 12th Bn.

Age:

Awards:

Died Date: 02/04/1917

Additional Information:

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‘Burnley News’ (15 May 1915)

(Kindly supplied by Robert S. Richardson)

(To see the photographs associated with this article go to: View Additional Image(s))

BARNOLDSWICK AND GERMANY’S CRIME

The remains of the late Mrs. Clara Hebden, Federation-street, Barnoldswick, who was one of the victims of the Lusitania disaster, were laid to rest in the graveyard attached to Gill Church, Barnoldswick, on Thursday afternoon. Impressive scenes marked the funeral, which was attended by three survivors of the Lusitania, in the persons of Mr. Robert Hebden, the widower, little Arthur Scott, whose mother was buried at Queenstown on Monday, and Mrs. Duckworth, of Blackburn, to whose efforts the boy owes his life. Prior to the funeral, which took place from the house of Mrs. Dewhirst, mother of the deceased, a number of mill operatives called to take a last look at the deceased. The coffin bore the simple inscription, “Clara Hebden, died May 7th, aged 28.” A short service was conducted at the house by the Rev. F. W. Patten, vicar of Gill Church, who also conducted the last rites. Amongst the floral tributes, of which there was a large number, was a wreath from the operatives at Messrs. Whiteoak and Co.’s Westfield Mill, where the deceased was formerly employed.

BARNOLDSWICK SURVIVOR’S EXPERIENCE

INTERVIEW WITH MR. ROBERT HEBDEN

Mr. Robert Hebden, who arrived on Tuesday at Barnoldswick, with the body of his wife, Mrs. Clara Hebden, was interviewed by our representative at the house of his parents-in-law, 3, Federation-street, the same evening. He said, [“]at the time the torpedo struck the liner he was walking along the lower deck, and both heard the noise and felt the shock immediately under his feet. He looked for the cause, and saw neither submarine nor the wake of the torpedo. As the ship began to list, he rushed to the deck where the lifeboats were being got out. His wife was in another part of the ship, but where he did not know, and although he tried to find her, he failed to do so. He saw a lifeboat lowered into the water, and when six feet from the level of the water it fell, and a great many of its occupants were thrown out into the water. He got into a lifeboat, but it was found that the plug was out of the bottom. It soon began to fill, and eventually overturned. They managed to cling to the upturned boat for some time. Eventually they got into a collapsible boat, and afterwards a torpedo boat destroyer picked them up. After two hours’ experience in the water, he saw a liner come down to their assistance. Afterwards he identified the body of his wife in the mortuary at Queenstown.”

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RMS ‘Lusitania’

RMS ‘Lusitania’

Robert Hebden and his wife Clara were aboard the ‘Lusitania’ when it was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20, about 11 miles off the southern Irish coast. She sank in under twenty minutes; Clara was amongst the 1198 people who lost their lives

Source: Unknown

‘Burnley News’ (15 May 1915)

‘Burnley News’ (15 May 1915)

To see the associated article go to: View Additional Text

Kindly supplied by Robert S. Richardson

Barnoldswick (St Mary-le-Ghyll) Churchyard

Barnoldswick (St Mary-le-Ghyll) Churchyard

Gravestone of Clara and William Hebden, wife and son of William Hebden (a memorial inscription for Clara was not added)

Barnoldswick (St Mary-le-Ghyll) Churchyard

Barnoldswick (St Mary-le-Ghyll) Churchyard

Gravestone of Clara and William Hebden, wife and son of William Hebden - detail

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Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

14 May 1915

HEBDEN – Drowned in Lusitania outrage, May 7th, Mrs. Clara Hebden, daughter of Mrs. Dewhirst, 3, Federation Street, Barnoldswick.

14 May 1915

THE ‘LUSITANIA’ OUTRAGE – A BARNOLDSWICK VICTIM – BROUGHT HOME FOR BURIAL

The first intimation that any Barnoldswick people were on the ill-fated liner was conveyed by a telegram received on Saturday morning by Mrs. Thos. Dewhirst, 3, Federation Street, from her son-in-law, Mr. Robert Hebden, in the following words:– ‘Bob picked up; heard nothing of Clara yet.’ Before going out to America about two years ago Mr. and Mrs. Hebden were both employed as weavers and followed the same occupation at New Bedford, Massachusetts, where they are reported to have done very well.

No further news came to hand until Tuesday morning, when the following letter, dated ‘Westbourne Hotel, Queenstown, Sunday, May 9th,’ was received from the distressed husband: “Just a few lines to let you know we were on the Lusitania. I am sorry to say Clara went down, and I was almost gone. I was picked up. The sight was awful. They didn’t give the passengers a chance to save their lives. It went down in a quarter of an hour from being torpedoed. I am bringing the body home. I shall start from here on Monday after dinner to Dublin, then sail to Holyhead by the midnight boat. You can make arrangements about the grave. There is another lady bringing a body on the same boat to Nelson. The sight to-day here is awful – thousands of people broken-hearted, some claiming wives, some husbands, some daughters and sisters or brothers. I think I shall be in Tuesday afternoon if everything goes well. – From your broken-hearted son, Bob.”

Pathetic Tragedy of a Surprise Visit

The body of Mrs. Hebden arrived at Barnoldswick on Tuesday shortly before noon, being met at the station by a hearse and conveyed to the residence of Mrs. Dewhirst, mother of the deceased.

In a brief interview with our representative Mr. Hebden said his wife was 28 years of age. They were coming back to England to stay, unknown to their relatives, to whom it was their intention of giving a little surprise by sending a wire on arrival at Liverpool. Up to the time of the disaster they had had a splendid voyage. “I was walking round the lower deck (he proceeded) when the explosion took place – not a very loud crash – and never saw anything of my wife who was with another lady at the time. I made my way to the second-class deck to one of the boats, but whilst it was being lowered it tilted about six feet from the water, precipitating nearly all the occupants into the sea. Getting into another boat, the plug came out of the bottom and it filled with water, so that we were scrambling for our lives all the time in clinging to the boat, which kept reversing. Eventually we managed to climb on to the upturned boat and remained in that position for one and a half hours, thinking every moment would be our last. Subsequently we got on to a collapsible boat from which we were rescued by a torpedo boat. During all this I never saw anything of my wife and was not aware that her body had been recovered until I identified it in the mortuary.”

In reply to questions Mr. Hebden said he never saw anything of the submarine, nor heard of the warning published in the New York paper until after his arrival at Queenstown.

The funeral of Mrs. Hebden took place yesterday afternoon at Gill Churchyard. A large crowd of sympathisers assembled in Federation Street prior to the cortege leaving the house. In addition to the family mourners, chief amongst them were Mr. Hebden (husband), and Mrs. Thos. Dewhirst (mother of the deceased) there were also present two survivors from the Lusitania – Mrs. Duckworth, of Blackburn, and Master Arthur Scott, of Nelson. The coffin was covered with beautiful floral tributes, amongst the number being wreaths from the workpeople at Messrs. Whiteoak’s, West field Shed (where deceased and her husband were formerly employed) and one from the committee of the Barnoldswick Conservative Club. The obsequies at Gill were conducted by the Rev. F.W. Patten, M.A., (vicar), and there also a sympathetic crowd had assembled. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Brigg and Duxbury.

13 April 1917

HEBDEN – Killed in action in France, Pte. Robert Hebden, Northumberland Fusiliers, of 41, Church Street, Barnoldswick, aged 36 years.

13 April 1917

LUSITANIA SURVIVOR KILLED IN FRANCE

News reached Barnoldswick yesterday of the death of Private Robert Hebden, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was 36 years of age. In a letter to Mrs. Hebden, who resides at 41, Church Street, Barnoldswick, Second-Lieut. W.M. Barber writes:– “Your husband was killed instantly whilst fighting bravely for his country. He was a most valuable soldier and is deeply mourned by his officers and comrades.”

Pte. Hebden, who was a weaver by trade, had spent some years in the United States, and was one of the passengers rescued from the ‘Lusitania’ in the wreck of which his first wife perished. He went out to France last August.

20 April 1917

LUSITANIA SURVIVOR KILLED – PTE. R. HEBDEN, BARNOLDSWICK

The above is a photograph of Private Robert Hebden, Northumberland Fusiliers, of Barnoldswick, who, as stated in our last week’s issue, was killed in action in France. A weaver by trade, he spent some years in the United States, and was one of the passengers rescued from the ‘Lusitania’, in the wreck of which his first wife perished.

04 July 1919

BARNOLDSWICK FAMILY’S THIRD BEREAVEMENT

The official intimation from the War Office presuming the death of Lance Corporal Wm. Dewhurst, Machine Gun Corps, represents the third loss during the war suffered by Mrs. Thos. Dewhurst, a widow residing at 3 Federation Street, Barnoldswick. Lance Corporal Dewhurst, who was 35 years of age and unmarried, had been missing since November 30th 1917, having arrived in France on the 17th March previous.

His elder brother, Pte. Thos. Dewhurst, was killed in August of the same year, while his only sister (Mrs. Robert Hebden) was lost on the Lusitania. Mrs. Dewhurst would be grateful for any more detailed information as to the fate of her son.

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14 May 1915

ON BOARD THE ‘LUSITANIA’

BARNOLDSWICK RESIDENT DROWNED – DISTRESSING SCENES

Germany’s outrage at the sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ has brought mourning and sorrow into Barnoldswick homes, for Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hebden, two former residents of the town, were passengers aboard the vessel and only the husband has survived the terrible experiences of the weekend disaster.

The deceased lady was the daughter of Mrs. Tom Dewhurst of 3 Federation Street, Barnoldswick, and her husband, although not a native of the town, lived in Barnoldswick for a number of years previous to their wedding and subsequent emigration to America. Both husband and wife were employed as weavers at Messrs. Brooks’ Westfield Shed. Two years ago they left the district for the U.S.A. and settled down in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where similar employment to that of the hometown was to be procured. Mr. and Mrs. Hebden got on well in America, but decided they would return to Barnoldswick again and secured berths upon the ‘Lusitania’, without having informed their relatives in England of the projected return, intending to send a telegram announcing their arrival from Queenstown. In American, Mr. and Mrs. Hebden heard or saw nothing of the German Government’s warnings that the vessel was marked down for destruction, and a very pleasant passage was made until the dastardly deed occurred.

LETTER FROM MR. HEBDEN

The letter reads as follows:–

“Dear Mother, Just a line to let you know we were on the ‘Lusitania’. I am sorry to say that Clara went down, and I was almost gone when I was picked up. The sight was awful. They (the Germans) did not give the passengers a chance to save their lives. It went down in a quarter of an hour from being torpedoed. I am bringing the body home… There is another lady bringing a body by the same train to Nelson. The sight out here is awful. Thousands of people are broken-hearted. Some claiming wives, some husbands, some children, and sisters and brothers. I think I shall be in on Tuesday afternoon. From your broken-hearted son. Bob.”

As stated in the letter, Mr. Hebden arrived in Barnoldswick on Tuesday noon, bringing with him the body of his wife who was drowned, to be buried at Gill Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.

HOW THE VESSEL WENT DOWN

In an interview with a ‘Pioneer’ representative on Tuesday, Mr. Hebden gave a graphic account of the sinking of the liner, and one which corroborates many of the stories that were published in the daily press. His experiences were similar to those of many others in the time of great anxiety and danger. Mr. Hebden stated that the ‘Lusitania’ made a splendid voyage until the time she was torpedoed. He was walking on the lower deck at the time, and saw nothing of what took place previous to the explosions. Mrs. Hebden was at the time with a lady friend in another part of the boat. Mr. Hebden said:–

“I heard the explosion right under me. It did not make a very loud noise, though the ship shook once or twice. Then the ship began to lean over on its side and started to sink. At once everything was put into confusion. I rushed to the second boat deck and tried to find my wife, but I could not see her. People were shouting and many women and children cried as the ship listed over more and more. One lifeboat was filled with people, and when about six feet from the water the davits broke and it fell.”

Proceeding, Mr. Hebden described how he got into a lifeboat, in which evidently the plug was out of place, and it began to fill with water. The result was that the people in the boat were thrown into the sea, and as the lifeboat turned topsy-turvy in the water, they clung to the sides. They were in a precarious position for quite a long time, fearing that they would not be able to hold on, or that the boat would sink beneath them, as it threatened to do. The experience was a terrible one. Mr. Hebden related how he saw the liner list more and more then sink bows first. It was all over in 18 minutes, and very many lives were lost.

“All around were people, some swimming in the water, others clinging to lifebelts and very feeble wreckage supports. I saw people who were past aid sink, but I never saw a trace of the murderers who brought all this awful loss of life about.”

RESCUED

Mr. Hebden and his party, who were clinging to the overturned boat, were later taken aboard one of the collapsible lifeboats which had been successfully launched, and from this were transferred to one of the torpedo-boat destroyers, which were sent on an errand of mercy as soon as the news of the disaster was known. They had been in the water over two hours and all were in an exhausted condition.

Mr. Hebden never saw his wife at all, until the sad moment when he identified her body in the mortuary at Queenstown. The memories of those sad moments it is impossible to describe. Everything possible was done for the survivors and the kindness and courtesy of the Irish folk and officials will forever be held in remembrance.

The funeral of Mrs. Hebden took place at the Gill Churchyard on Tuesday afternoon, the vicar, Rev. F.W. Patten, M.A., J.P., officiating. A large crowd of sympathising townspeople assembled in Federation Street to witness the departure of the cortege for Gill. In addition to the family mourners, chief amongst whom were the bereaved husband, Mr. Robert Hebden, and the mother of the deceased lady, Mrs. Thomas Dewhurst, there were also present two survivors from the torpedoed vessel: Mr. Duckworth, of Blackburn, and Master Arthur Scott, of Nelson. A number of beautiful wreaths and floral tributes were sent, including one from the family, the workpeople at Messrs. Whiteoak’s Westfield Shed, where the deceased lady was formerly employed, and from the Barnoldswick Conservative Club. En route, window blinds were drawn by the inhabitants as a last token of sympathy and respect.

13 April 1917

HEBDEN – In France, Pte. Robt. Hebden, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, of Church Street, Barnoldswick, aged 36.

13 April 1917

BARNOLDSWICK – LUSITANIA SURVIVOR KILLED IN FRANCE

News came to hand yesterday morning of the death of Private Robert Hebden, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was 36 years of age. In a letter to Mrs. Hebden, who resides at 41, Church Street, Barnoldswick, Second Lieutenant Wm. Barber writes:– “Your husband was killed instantly whilst fighting bravely for his country. He was a most valuable soldier and is deeply mourned by his officers and comrades.”

Private Hebden, who was a weaver by trade, had spent some years in the United States, and was one of the passengers rescued from the ‘Lusitania’ in the wreck of which his first wife perished.

He went out to France last August.

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