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Victor Hurley was born in Uffculme, Devon on 1st March 1902 and was the son of Henry and Alice M Hurley of Plymouth.

In 1907 the family were living at 20 Mill Street, and in 1908 were at 49 North Street; both addresses in Newport, Wales. By 1908 Victor was at Marshes Road/Crindau School (Boys) and the following year moved to St Woolos School (Boys) with his elder brother Harold (b. 11 May 1896) who had started the year before.

His brother Harold left the school in 1910 and started working at an Iron Works, and young Victor stayed on until November 1911 when he ‘left for Church Rd Sc’ – Ty Derwen, another school for pupils aged 5-12 years.

At the time of the 1911 census the family were still at 49 North Street, Victor was 10 years old and still in school, his brother was in the Iron Works and their father was a gas stoker in a gas works.

Victor was still living in Newport when he enlisted in the Army at Cardiff sometime after September 1916, he joined a Training Reserve Battalion with the number 3447.

Once he had completed his training he was transferred to the 2/4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 41364, then sometime later moved on to the 9th (Service) Battalion where he served in the 4th Platoon of ‘B Company’.

It is not known when he arrived in France, but he was captured on 27th/28th May 1918. By this time his parents had moved to 6 Junction Road, Newport.

On 27th May 1918 the Germans mounted an offensive against a French sector near the River Aisne. This sector was, by chance, held by the battered British 1X Corps which, in need of a rest, had been allotted a supposedly quiet area. The British troops involved included …. the 9th Loyal North Lancs. All of these were in reserve when the forward areas were pounded by the largest concentration of artillery yet assembled. The main line of defence was quickly breached and overwhelmed and the reserves were committed piecemeal in desperate and confused fighting against odds of at least four to one. Unit cohesion was soon shattered, but the troops fought on in isolated company groups and mixed detachments, retiring in close contact until the tide was turned and, after eight days heavy fighting the German advance once more ground to a halt.

Extracts from The Battalion War Diary

24th May 1918
Arrived at Vandeuil, early hours of morning

25th May 1918. Vandeuil
COs inspection of Battalion

26th May 1918. Vandeuil
Church parade. Orders for move.
1915hrs: Received orders to prepare to move at once.
2300hrs: Marched to Muscourt. During latter part of journey, box respirators were worn owing to gas shelling by enemy.

27th May 1918. Muscourt
Arrived at Muscourt at about 0400hrs.
0900hrs: 1 Platoon per Company ordered to proceed to a line along Canal Bank, N.E of MAIZY, to form a nucleus of defence for that place.
1200hrs: Remainder of Battalion ordered to reinforce at once, line areas taken up. Total going into action: 12 Officers, 496 Other Ranks

28th May 1918. Canal Bank
5 Officers and 72 Other Ranks reported to the transport lines in small parties during the day (remnants of Battalion).

Victor was held in captivity at Lamsdorf POW camp in Germany where he died on 23rd October 1918. The camp was one of the Germans largest camps for prisoners of war, housing roughly 90,000 internees, mostly from the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy and Serbia. Due to poor housing conditions roughly 7000 men died in captivity.

victor hurley POW

The only POW record surviving

Victor Hurley was just 16 years old when he died in Germany as a prisoner of war. He was buried at Berlin South-Western Cemetery.

His father received the war gratuity and would also take receipt of his late-son’s British War Medal and Allied Victory. The Army would later dispatch a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name in recognition of the sacrifice he made for his Country.

Rank: Private
Service No: 41364
Date of Death: 23/10/1918
Age: 16
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Additional Information

Victor’s brother, Harold Hurley served in the 1/4th Bn. Devonshire Regiment (no. 200743) and was reported missing in Mesopotamia on 24th May 1917. It was confirmed in April 1918 that he had been killed on that day the previous year. Harold is remembered on the Basra Memorial.

harold hurley - victor POW

The Western Mail – 22nd April 1918

Paul McCormick
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