Driver Harold HOY
('Private' on CWGC Record)


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
2nd/6th Battalion (Territorial Force)
Service Number:
241664
Date of Death:
2 October 1917 - Died of wounds
Age:
24
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
P. III. K. 9A.


Personal History:

Harold was born in Burbage, Buxton, the March quarter 1894, the son of Thomas (Greengrocer) and Annie (née Webbe)  Hoy of Spring Gardens, Buxton. He had an older brother and sister, Bertie and Elsie, and three younger sisters, Dorothy, Lillie and Gladys. (1901 Census RG 13/3270)

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21243) the family had moved to 40 West Road, Buxton, and four more siblings had been born, Edith, Clifford (see below), May and Ida, although younger sister Gladys had died in the December quarter 1901. Harold was "assisting" in his father's business.

Footnote:
On a plaque next to Harold's grave (left) is a record left by "His only surviving brother, Clifford Hoy" who visited the grave on 6th July 1978. "In Loving Memory".


Military History:
Harold enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) on a Short Service attestation at Buxton. His Service papers have not survived and his Medal Index Card does not give a date for when he was posted to France, but as he was not eligible for the '1915 Star' medal it must have been after 1915.

It seems that Harold was a "Derby Scheme" man with an original 4-digit number. He was called up to 2/6th Battalion in late January  / early February 1916. The 2/6th Battalion was formed at Chesterfield on 14th September 1914 as a second line unit. It moved on 2nd November to Buxton, with Battalion HQ occupying the Empire Hotel. After a lengthy period of training in April 1916 the Battalion was posted to Ireland to quell disturbances, before moving, on 12th January 1917, to Fovant and landed at Boulogne 25th February 1917.

                            


During the Third Battles of the Ypres (31st July - 10th November 1917) the 2/6th Battle were engaged in several phases as part of the 178th (2/1st Sherwood Forester) Brigade, particularly The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, 20th - 25th September, and The Battle of Polygon Wood, 26th September - 3rd October 1917.

Harold died of wounds received on the first day of the Battle, 26th, whilst moving up into the line. Shellfire wounded ten men, including Harold, and only three were to eventually survive. The action is recorded in the War Diary for the 26th September 1917:

"5.50 a.m. - After heavy artillery barrage Battalion left its kicking off position, with 2/7th SF on the left and the 177 Bde on the right. The objective which was from D14d36 inclusive to the Gravenstafel Road (exclusive) was reached about 7.30 a.m. A number of prisoners were taken. The enemy shelled our positions during the day." 

It went on for the 27th and 29th:

"27th - Shelled heavily during the day. 8pm Relieved the 2/5th Bn SF in the front line, who had held the 2nd objective."

"29th - 9.00 p.m. Battn relieved by the ANZACs and took up position in the old British front line in the rear of Wieltje.
                           Total casualties 11 Offs 220 ORs."

C.W.G.C. records show 66 Officers and men of the 2/6th Battalion were killed during The Battle of Polygon Wood (26th September to 3rd October), mostly on the 26th. After being wounded Harold passed through the Casualty Clearing Station on the way to the Base Hospital at Rouen where he died on the 2nd October. He is buried in Rouen close to the Hospital where he died. Most of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for virtually the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot.

                              


Footnote:
· A number of other Buxton men enlisted in the 2/6th Battalion at about the same time as Harold - judging by their Service Numbers - and gave
  their lives:
   Sgt/Pt 240842 Raymond BENNETT - was killed in action on the 27 April 1917
   Pt 241700 William Kenneth WEAVER - died on the 26 September 1917
  Pt 241835 Norman WHEELDON (WHIELDON) - died in the same Battle as William on the 29 September 1917
   Cpl 241821 Phillip BERRIFORD - killed in action on the 3 April 1918

Sources:
· I am grateful to Paul Trevier for the photo of Harold's grave.
· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for the War Diary extract.
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 6 October 1917

Link to CWGC Record
Harold Hoy's Grave
poppy
.... about the "Derby Scheme"
... about the Battle of Polygon Wood