George Ward Hunt
Captain, The Northamptonshire Regiment
(1881 - 1915)
George Ward Hunt was born on December 10, 1881, in Wadenhoe, Northamptonshire to Margaret Hyde Parker, age 23, and George Eden Hunt, age 22. His grandfather, George Ward Hunt, who also lived in Wadenhoe House, but who had died before George was born, was Chancellor of the Exchequer to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. George had a brother and two sisters. His father died when he was 10.
On 5th Feb 1901 he received a Commission as Second Lieutenant from 3rd Btn Northants Regmt. He served in the South African (Second Boer) War from 23 Sept 1901 to 26 May 1902, was promoted from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant (Gazetted 15 Apr 1902), and received the Queen’s medal with clasps for Cape Colony in 1902 after his promotion to Lieutenant.
George Ward Hunt married Daisy Pennington in January 1911 when he was 29 years old, and they were living in Northampton. Their son George Edgar Ward Hunt was born on 15th October 1911 near Northampton.
On 28 March 1912 he was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain. In Nov 1912 he took a draft of 74 other ranks, embarking at Southampton on Troopship “Dongola”, to join the 2nd Battalion in Malta, serving there until June 1913. His daughter Mary Ward Hunt was born in Wadenhoe in early 1913.
On 28 July 1914, at the outbreak of WW1, he was with 1st Battalion at Blackdown, near Aldershot. On 5th August he went to the Barracks at Northampton to collect a draft of about 260 reservists rejoining the 1st Battalion, leaving by train the next morning, and on 13th August they were going to France.
On 16th Sept 1914 he was badly wounded in the back at the Battle of Aisne, during the afternoon, by a shell splinter, and sent home. "During this day [Aisne, 16 Sep 1914] we had still another severe loss amongst the officers, as poor "Mother" Hunt (Captain Ward Hunt) was badly wounded in the back during the afternoon by a shell splinter. One of the very best, I had known him intimately for several years with the 2nd Battalion when I was attached to it in 1910, and at the Depot when he was doing duty there. One of the world's most cheery souls, with a heart of gold, "Mother" was popular wherever he went." (2Lt EJ Needham's account).
On 25 Feb 1915 he returned to France, and on 9th May led an attack against German trenches at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, and although badly wounded he carried on and was killed. "The poor old boy went out again to the 58th in 1915 and was killed at Aubers Ridge on the fatal 9th May. A very great little gentleman and a really good friend." (2Lt EJ Needham's account). In The Battle of Aubers Ridge, 9th May 1915, the 2/Northants were in the Northern Pincer movement, and had 426 casualties that day, of which 12 were officers. More than 11,000 British casualties were sustained on 9 May 1915, the vast majority within yards of their own front-line trench. Mile for mile, Division for Division, this was one of the highest rates of loss during the entire war. There is no memorial to the attack at Aubers Ridge.
George is remembered on Panel 7 of the Ploegsteert Memorial, which is just over the Belgian border from where he died in Aubers, France.
He is remembered on Wadenhoe's War Memorials.