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Henry Garbutt

Date of birth: 1898
Date of death: 4.11.1918
Area: Outwood
Regiment: Coldstream Guards
Family information: Son of George Robert and Harriet Ann Garbutt
Rank: Private
Service number: 24499

War Service

Due to the absence of his service record, it is not known when Henry Garbutt joined the army. However, it is known that he initially joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, when he was allocated the service number 51541. His service number was changed to 24499, when he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards. The date of this transfer is not known
The 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards embarked for France on 12th August 1914, part of the 2nd Division of the British Expeditionary Force. On the 23rd August, the 2nd Division moved forward into Belgium, however, the German assault forced the BEF to withdraw. The retreat ended on the 5th September, by which time the BEF was in an area south of the River Marne. A month after advancing and re-crossing the River Aisne, the BEF moved back to Flanders. Here the 2nd Coldstream Guards was involved in the first Battle of Ypres, which resulted in the formation of the Ypres Salient.
In July 1916, the Division left the Ypres Salient to take part in the Allied offensive on the Somme. On the 15th September, the 2nd Coldstream was on the right of the Brigade’s assault in the Ginchy sector. The battalion came under enemy machine gun fire, from the sunken Ginchy-Flers Road and when relieved the following day, had incurred 440 casualties.
The battalion returned to the Ypres Salient in 1917, where they were involved in the Battle of Passchendaele, before moving south towards Cambrai. During the German offensive in March 1918, the Guards Division was engaged in the area south-west of Arras.
The Allied offensive of August 1918 saw the 2nd Coldstream Guards in some hard fighting against the German rearguards. However, by October, the Guards Division had reached the River Selle, near Maubeuge. In late October, the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards was withdrawn from the line and moved to Carnieres, for training.
The 2nd Coldstream returned to the front line on the 2nd November, when they marched to Ruesnes, with the intention of attacking the Blue Line, near the village of Villers-Pol. However, during the afternoon of the 3rd November, the enemy withdrew from Villers-Pol and the Brigade was ordered to advance as speedily as possible. The advance commenced at 20.00 hrs, that evening, with the 2nd Coldstream at the centre of the Brigade advance. The advance was led by Nos. 1 and 2 Company, with No.4 Company in support and No.3 Company in reserve. Opposition was light, until the leading waves reached the centre of Villers-Pol, when they came under heavy machine-gun fire. However, by 23.30 hrs, the 2nd Coldstream was dug-in, some 400 yards west of the Blue Line. The advance continued the next morning under a creeping barrage and, after severe fighting, the objective, the Green Line, was gained by 07.00 hrs. The Battalion consolidated their positions and later that evening was withdrawn, to billets in Villers-Pol.
During their attacks on the 3rd and 4th November 1918, the 2nd Coldstream Guards had incurred 90 casualties, one of whom was Private Henry Garbutt. He was buried in the extension to the Villers-Pol Communal Cemetery, which was started in November 1918. The cemetery now contains 119 Commonwealth war graves, of which two are unidentified. There are also 74 German graves.
Henry Garbutt is also remembered on the Wrenthorpe Colliery Memorial, in the grounds of St John’s Church, Bradford Road, Wakefield.

Family Life

Henry Garbutt was born in 1898, the second son of George Robert Garbutt and his wife Harriet Ann, formerly Hartley, of Bank Street, Morley. Later, as the family grew, George and Harriet with their six sons lived at Scorths Buildings at Bruntcliffe, Morley. The 1911 census shows that Henry Garbutt was attending the local school and his father was employed as a general labourer, at the coke works. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Ash Cottages, Leeds Road, Outwood and, on leaving school, Henry Garbutt obtained employment at Wrenthorpe Colliery.

Villers-Pol Communal Cemetery with the Cross of Sacrifice in the foreground and rows of graves behind Villers-Pol Communal Cemetery

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