Henry G Overend
Date of birth: 1885
Date of death: 05.02.1920
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of William and Ellen Overend nee White
Service number: 12/193
On the 5th October 1914 Henry Gould Overend enlisted in the army at Wakefield. At his medical examination, when he was passed A1, he was described as 5ft 4½ ins tall, weighing 160 lbs and of good physical development. At this time he gave his occupation as a mining engineer and joined the 12th (Service) Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, also known as the “Miners Battalion”. As a pioneer battalion their main role was to assist front line infantry by digging trenches, installing barbed wire entanglements and moving supplies and ammunition.
On 6th December 1915, after some 14 months training, Lance Corporal Henry Gould Overend and the 12th KOYLI sailed for Egypt. The 12th KOYLI was the pioneer battalion of the 31st Division, which was deployed to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. However, in March 1916, the 31st Division was transferred to France, landing at Marseilles before moving north towards the Somme region.
Shortly after arriving in France, L/Cpl Overend was admitted to the No 5 General Hospital in Rouen, suffering from boils. On 30th April he returned to England by hospital ship and spent 120 days in No 3 Scot General Hospital. On 18th November 1916 L/Cpl Overend was posted to 3rd KOYLI and six months later, on 15th June 1917, returned to France. After a month of training at the Army base at Etaples, on 20th July 1917 he re-joined the 12th KOYLI in the field.
The 31st Division was based in the Arras area at this time and remained there until early 1918. The 12th KOYLI headquarters was about 5 miles from Arras and from here the battalion was deployed to dig trenches, construct dug-outs and erect camps.
On 19th November 1917 L/Cpl Overend was admitted to the 10th Canadian General hospital at Etaples, suffering from myalgia, a muscular pain often brought on by a viral infection. Three weeks later he returned to England, posted to the Depot, with the rank of Corporal. He remained in England until 4th August 1918 when, after a short period with 3rd KOYLI, he returned to France.
He re-joined the 12th KOYLI on the 12th August, in the Bailleul sector, where the battalion was deployed opening up the roads after the enemy had been forced to retire. The battalion continued to follow up the infantry during their advance eastwards. On 12th September 1918, Cpl Overend was admitted to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, suffering from debility and transferred to England. He spent the next months in various hospitals, including the KLM Hospital at Blackpool and the Preston Dispersal Hospital. On 28th February 1919, Cpl Overend was discharged from the hospital at Preston and returned home. A month later, on 29th March 1919, Henry Gould Overend was transferred to the Army “Z” Reserve.
However Henry Gould Overend was a sick man and was admitted to the 2nd Northern General Hospital in Leeds where, on 5th February 1920, at the age of 34, he died. He was interred on the 9th February at the Lofthouse Church burial ground. He is remembered on the war memorials at both St Mary Magdalene Church and Parkside Methodist Church at Outwood.
Henry Gould Overend is not listed a s a casualty of war by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which suggests that he had been discharged from the army reserve before his death.
Henry Gould Overend was born on 30th May 1885, the son of William Overend and his wife Ellen, formerly White, of Newstead Terrace, Outwood. Henry was baptised on 2nd August 1885 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. At this time his father was employed as a deputy at Lofthouse Colliery, but later became a colliery under manager. On leaving school, Henry Gould Overend also found employment in the coal mines, initially working as a pony driver, but later becoming an underground corporal. Henry Gould Overend attended the local Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and continued to live with his parents at Newstead Terrace, Outwood.