Henry Charles Walter Hoskyns in WW1


Henry was the son of Charles Henry Williams Hoskyns and his wife Elizabeth Ann Thimbleay. Charles was the rector of Holywell from 1872 until his sudden death in 1893. Henry was born there 28 June 1875 and baptised in the church 8 August of the same year. He had one sister Louisa. Charles inherited the advowson which from his Grandfather which was purchased by James Ross.

Henry was a regular soldier being commissioned into the Lincolnshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 21st September 1898. By 1900 he was a full Lieutenant and serving in South Africa in the Boer War. He took part in actions in the Transvaal and Orange Free State gaining three clasps to the Queen’s South Africa Medal. After the Boer War he served with the West African Frontier Force until 1906, being promoted to Captain in 1905.

At the beginning of the Great War he was serving with the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment one of the first to land in France, on August 14th 1914, as part of the BEF. They distinguished themselves at the Battle of Mons, during the fighting retreat toward Paris and the subsequent advance during and after the Battle of Marne. At Framieres on the 24th August 1914 together with the 2nd Battalion (South) Lancashire Regiment they held a complete German division, though outnumbered by nearly 12 to 1, for 4 hours allowing the remainder of their corps to retire safely. Two days later, in a similar action, at Le Cateau the 2nd Lancashires lost 70 percent (approximately 700 men) of their strength. They had only been in Belgium for 3 days.

DSOHenry Hoskyns was wounded on 9th September 1914, the day when 2 companies of Lincolns silenced a German battery near Bezu after being amongst the leading battalions across-the River Marne during the Battle of the Marne. He was also mentioned in despatches on 19th October 1914, during the Battle of La Bassee.This possibly stemmed from the action when the 9th Brigade took Herlies with a bayonet charge led by the 1st Lincolns. During this period he was still a captain and, in fact held that rank on 18th February 1915 when awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) “for Services in connection with operations in the field.”- The DSO is awarded for gallantry or distinguished service in the face of the enemy. lt is said that officers awarded the DSO, particularly those of the rank of captain or below, have often just missed the award of the Victoria Cross.

PoppyBy the time of his death on the 25th September 1915, he was a Major and commanding D Company of the 2nd Lincolns. This 2nd battalion of Lincolns had reached France in November 1914 after leaving from Bermuda where they were based at the outbreak of the war.

The Battle of Loos began on 25th September 1915 and along the line north and south of the intended main attack area diversionary attacks and feints took place to keep the enemy guessing. The 2nd Lincolns were in the line at Bois Grenier, some 15 miles or so north of Loos and just south of Armentieres. This is where Major Hoskyns lost his life. The Battle of Loos, itself, cost the British over 60,000 casualties with an estimated loss to the enemy of 20,000 and, once again, the front line had barely changed.


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