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Wilfred Samuel Hunt

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard

 

Company Sergeant Major Wilfred Samuel Hunt

 

112  1st/5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment 

 

Wilfred Hunt was born in Sudbury around 1878.  He was the son Samuel and Celia Hunt.  In 1901 Wilfred was boarding at 1 Girton Terrace, Sudbury, employed as a ‘clerk at a mat factory’.  He married Eleanor Frances and they lived at ‘River View’, Cornard Road. 

 

Wilfred went on to become a Manager at W. Armes, the matting factory in Cornard Road.  He enlisted in Sudbury, having been a Territorial for 15 years and served with the 5th Battalion alongside Lt. Col. William Armes, the company’s managing director.  A report in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press on 23rd September 1914 lists Wilfred’s promotion to Colour Sergeant.  He is recorded as having first served in a ‘theatre of war’ in the Balkans on 10th August 1915 and served in the same battalion as Stanley Nunn, Frederick Pilgrim and Russell Wordley. 

 

The 5th Battalion embarked on the ‘Aquitania’ in Liverpool in July 1915, heading for Gallipoli in the eastern Mediterranean.  On 12th August the battalion disembarked at Mudros and six days later saw action against the Turks, advancing through heavy enemy fire without any artillery support from their own side to gain 1,300 yards.  The battalion suffered 186 killed or wounded and a further 160 sick, the majority suffering with dysentery.  The battalion was garrisoned at Hill 60 and had to endure disease, swarms of flies, heat, water shortage and lack of transport. 

 

Wilfred was killed in action on 18th September 1915 aged 37 and lies buried in Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey. 

 

His widow received a letter from Captain B E Oliver, an extract was printed in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press on 13th October 1915: ‘It may be of some slight comfort to you to know that he died doing his duty, and also to hear that without exception he was the best man in the Battalion, and his loss is the greatest blow which my company could receive. Being my company Sgt-Major I have been in the closest contact with him, and I may say that I never want to meet a finer character nor a better personal friend. No one knows more than I what he has done for this company and Battalion: and quite apart from his value as a soldier his loss has been greatest personal blow to me since we have been out here: in fact it has cast a deep gloom over the whole battalion. I know you will want to hear how he died so I will tell you briefly. We had been for three days in the trenches and were about to be relieved at five o'clock last night (Sept 18th), when the Turks started a rather severe artillery bombardment and a heavy musketry fire all along the line. I was in charge of the trench and was sitting in my "dug out" with your husband and my cousin, Capt C.M. Oliver who was about to relieve us. We all three rushed out to get into the fire trench, your husband following me. On reaching the fire trench I went along to the right and never saw your husband alive again. He went to the left and was standing close to my cousin when he was suddenly struck in the face either by a piece of shell or a ricocheting bullet, I cannot tell which. It may be some comfort to you to know that he did not suffer, as he was killed instantaneously. We buried him last night by moonlight, the service being conducted by our chaplain, Capt Rev Pierrepont Edwards. I am having a wooden cross put over his grave.’ 

 

On 9th October 1915 during a memorial service at St. Andrew’s Church, Great Cornard for Russell Wordley reference was made to ‘the untimely decease of Sergeant Major Hunt, who was also a resident in the parish, liked by all around, a kind friend and a good neighbour.’

 

Wilfred was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial and the Sudbury Roll of Honour in the Heritage Museum located in Sudbury Town Hall.

 

©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008