Hubert (Bert) Petts (1896–1916)

Lance Corporal

Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 14002 10th Battalion

Photo Lea Mills postcard

Photo of Bert Petts

Bert was born in 1896, worked at Lea Mills, and enlisted into the Foresters in September 1914. Entering France in July 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then killed in action at St. Eloi on 3rd March 1916. His death is commemorated at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, on the Lea Mills Memorial and on the Alderwasley Memorial .

Medal Roll Index Card
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals.

Lea Mills Roll of Honour & Letters
Joined up 04/09/14

Newspaper Reports

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 6 August 1915
The Wirksworth parish magazine says: – “Since the magazine last came out, a number of our young men have started for the front. E Redfern, in the RFA, has been in hospital; Arthur Lee and Arthur Carrington started for the Dardanelles about July 1; Herbert Petts and Oscar Snow about the middle of the month for France; JHM White, whom we heartily congratulate on his promotion to be captain, left about the same time, having been engaged in Staff work, and the work of embarking troops. May they be in God's keeping and returning safety and with honours gained. Our best congratulations also to be given to George Petts who is now Lance sergt. We were glad to see Capt Shepherd-Cross home on leave and in good health.”

Derbyshire Courier, 18 March 1916
Lance Corporal H. Petts, Alderwasley

10th Battalion Foresters War Diary [by kind permission of the National Archives]
The following transcript from War Diaries record Bert's final days of service before he was killed on 3rd March 1916.

29th Feb
Battalion marched to Bde Reserve dugouts I33a taking over from 10th LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS. Fortins R9 and R10 were relieved also guards on bridges 18 and 19. Ecluse No 8 and barricade on YPRES – LILLE Road where it crosses the canal.

As relieved Battalion were finding working parties all that night relief was rather confused and late. As soon as relief was complete (11:45 pm) the whole battalion was used for carrying material from WOODCOTE HOUSE to forward dumps.

1st Mar
A short bombardment of the enemy trenches and support lines took place at 4:30am and lasted for 45 minutes and brought considerable reply.

Casualties to 12 noon 6 O.R. wounded including 3 slightly at duty. [O.R. was Other Ranks]

At 5pm a demonstration was made as though about to attack, by all the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers and 9th WEST RIDING REGTS, holding the trenches.

An intense bombardment took place and rapid rifle and machine-gun fire: enemy replied vigorously and establish two barrages as in February 14 – one behind Reserve Wood and one across from Canal Bank in front of CHESTER FARM.

76th Inf Bde took over command of sector, establishing their headquarters in Reserve dugout I33a.

Bus under command of 76th Inf Bde took up position in assembly trenches in accordance with “detail of assembly trenches” & "move to assembly trenches.” *
* appendix Nos 1&2

Dress and distinguishing marks worn in accordance with Preliminary Orders †
appendix No 3

2nd Mar
At 4:30 am in accordance with Operation Orders ☨ the attack was launched
☨appendix No 4

There was no preliminary bombardment immediately before the attack, desultory shelling having taken place throughout the night to prevent the enemy carrying out repairs to wire etc.

The attack was in every way success.

The trench wardens supplied by battalions found great difficulty in coping with their task of keeping the trenches in repair and eventually it was to all intents abandoned.

As soon as the assault and burst of shelling was over, what remained of the battalion after supplying the guards, wardens etc was utilised in carrying ammunition and material to the forward dumps. This continued all day and most of the night, and following morning the latter under heavy shellfire.

As soon as the assault and burst of shelling was over, what remained of the battalion after supplying the guards, wardens etc was utilised in carrying out ammunition and material to the forward dumps. This continued all day and most of the night, and following morning the latter under heavy shellfire.

3rd Mar
Bn bombers were utilised to occupy posts in front line and did good work under Lieut. HOYTE. [The bombers threw grenades]

The orders for battalion to be relieved on night 3rd/4th by 7th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry were received in the early afternoon.

This relief was a long and tedious process and was not complete till 3:45 am. The companies were able to get away before that time. The Bn marched back to camp B – a long march but recompensed by the sleep that followed.

Casualties during two days. CAPT. J.W. FISHER, 2/Lt A.F. BENTLEY wounded & CAPT N.H. PRATT slightly at duty all on 3rd. O.R. killed 17, Wounded* 76 Missing three. [One of those killed was Bert Petts]
*includes 27 at duty.

[With thanks to Steve Morse]

Hubert Petts is also remembered on the Alderwasley Roll of Honour in the Church.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Surname Petts
Forename Hubert
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Private
Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit 10th Bn
Date of Death 03/03/16
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference Panel 39 and 41

War Grave Certificate for Bert Petts


Lea Mills Memorial to WW1 men

Memorial outside Lea Mills


Alderwasley War Memorial
Alderwasley War Memorial
Alderwasley War Memorial

Three photographs of Alderwasley War Memorial

The Notts & Derbys Panel on the Menin Gate

Courtesy Steve Morse

panel from the Menin Gate

Soldiers' Effects Book
Hubert Petts; 10th Notts & Derby Regt; L/Cpl 14002; died in Belgium 3.3.16; War Gratuity £6 10s 0d; paid out to:
22.6.16 father George £6 9s 0d
27.8.19 father George £6 10s 0d

Bert's brother George Petts also served.


1901: Derbyshire Royal Infirmary

Forename Surname Relationship Age Information Where born
Hubert Petts patient 5   Whatstandwell

RG13 piece 3224 folio 214 page 10

1911: Whatstandwell

Forename Surname Relationship Age Information Where born
George Petts Head 55 Estate bailiff Crich
Mary Ellen Petts wife 53   Wirksworth
Emily Petts daughter 24 No occupation Alderwasley
Mary Petts daughter 20 No occupation Alderwasley
George Petts son 18 Joiner Alderwasley
Arthur Petts son 17 Stone mason on estate Alderwasley
Hubert Petts son 15 No occupation Alderwasley
Edith Petts daughter 11 School Alderwasley
Sarah Petts daughter 10 School Alderwasley

RG14PN21007 RG78PN1253 RD436 SD6 ED5 SN25