Second Lieutenant, Herbert Dudley Pashley (26) – Accidentally Killed

29 Kite Balloon Section, Royal Flying Corps, 25th December 1916

Family Grave at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex – © Steve Grimwood (Find a Grave)

Synopsis of Life and Military Service

Herbert was the son of Alexander Herbert Pashley and Cecilia Jane Ryan. He was born in Norwich in February 1890 and baptised in the church of St Andre with Capel St Andrew in Norfolk on 28 June 1890. When he was born, his father was noted as ‘living on his own means’ but by the time of the 1901 Census he was working as a solicitor’s clerk, and by 1911 as a Meat Sellers Clerk in Smithfield Market in London. By this time, Herbert was working and had joined his father as a clerk in the meat selling business.

Herbert joined 23 Battalion County of London Regiment as a Private on 8 February 1909; his service number was 536. He was promoted to Lance Sergeant on 1 November 1912 and to Sergeant on 1 August 1913.

In 1910 he was charged with being drunk in charge of a loaded revolver. His case was heard at Bow Street Magistrates court. The court heard that an American sailor hailed a taxi cab in Leicester Square and as he was about to enter, Pashley tried to follow him in. The sailor objected and Herbert, who was drunk, took a fully loaded revolver from his pocket and pointed it at him. He was disarmed by the cab driver who held him until the police arrived. Herbert’s defence was that he had the revolver because he carried large sums of money with him, and that he merely showed it to the sailor who he had met earlier in the evening. The Magistrate ordered Pashley to pay 40s and 7s 6d doctor’s fee.

On 14 March 1915, Herbert’s battalion entrained at St Albans for Southampton, and were transported to France on board the troop ships ‘SS Copenhagen’ and ‘SS Trafford Hall’. They arrived in Le Havre the next day at 8am, and on the 21st were in St Hilaire undergoing training prior to heading to the front line. On 11 April 1915 they marched to Les Glaugmes where they entered the trenches with the 1st Guards Brigade, each company attached to an experienced Battalion for instruction. Herbert’s ‘D’ Company went in with the London Scottish. Immediately they were in action, taking casualties.

By 25 May 1915 the Battalion were based in Givenchy. The War Diary for that day states:-

“Orders received in afternoon that Battalion was to attack German trench at J7, 200 yards South. Casualties 499, including 3 Officers killed and 10 wounded”.

This was followed in an Appendix to the entry:-

“The assault was ordered for 6.30pm and at this hour No 13-14 platoons of ‘D’ Company (led by Lt Wood and CSM Hammond) went over the parapet as one man and captured their allotted section of the enemy trench at the cost of about 14 casualties. The battalion advanced by double platoons at regular intervals and by about 8pm the whole battalion was in the captured trench.

At about 8.45pm the captured trench was being badly enfiladed by rifle and machine gun fire from the left. Allied machine guns went into action from Upper Cut but were unable to prevent this fire continuing.

During the whole night very heavy casualties were suffered by the battalion as they were being enfiladed from both sides”

Herbert was one of the casualties suffering a gun shot wound to his left leg. He returned to the UK on 30 May 1915 to recover. He returned to France on 8 October 1915.

His return to France was brief. On 18 December 1915 he was sent to 45 Field Ambulance and 18 Casualty Clearing Station. The records suggest he had sprained his ankle and knee but on 29 December he returned to England from Dieppe. He had actually fractured his tibia and fibula and was admitted to Bagthorpe Military Hospital, Nottingham on 30 December where he stayed for 51 days before being sent to a convalescent hospital in Alnwick.

Herbert was discharged from the Territorial Force on 29 April 1916 and his description at the time of his discharge states that he was 5′ 3″ tall; had a chest measurement of 36″ when fully expanded; had a fresh complexion with brown hair and eyes and a scar on his left calf – obviously from his gun shot wound earlier in the war. His character during his time with the Territorials was commented on as follows:

Military Hospital, Bagthorpe (Nottingham City Hospital)

“During a period of seven years’ service he has always found himself sober, willing and hardworking. He is very tactful, intelligent and a conscientious worker”.

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps on 8 July 1916 and on 11 September was sent for instruction in ballooning. Two months later on 7 November 1916, he was posted to 29 Kite Balloon Section as a Balloon Officer.

British Kite Balloon © Air Force Museum of New Zealand


Herbert was found dead in a burning hut on Christmas Day 1916. He suffered from smoke inhalation and heart failure. He is buried in Dantzig Military Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France.

Grave of Herbert Pashley – ©Anonymous (Find a Grave)


Herbert Dudley Pashley was born at Norwich on February 1890.

His family is shown as follows :-

  • Father – Alexander Herbert Dudley Pashley, born c.1864 at Norfolk, d. 5 July 1935.
  • Mother – Cecilia Jane Ryan or Pashley, born c.1863 at Canterbury, Kent, d.25 Feb 1950.
  • Brother – Cecil Lawrence, born c.1892 at Yarmouth, Norfolk, d.10 December 1969.
  • Brother – Eric Clowes, born c.1893 at Yarmouth, Norfolk, d.17 March 1917.


Records show that Herbert lived in :-

  • 1891 – Leicester House, Britania Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
  • 1901 – 43 Stormont Road, Battersea, Wandsworth, London.
  • 1911 – 27 Badminton Road, Balham, London.
  • 1916 – 27 Badminton Road, Balham, London.


Herbert Dudley Pashley was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.


Herbert is remembered on his father’s grave in Mill Hill Cemetery, Shoreham on Sea, Suffolk.

Links to Additional Information


  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • Farringdon Advertiser 17 December 1910.
  • 1891 England, Wales and Scotland Census.
  • 1901 England, Wales and Scotland Census.
  • 1911 Census of England and Wales.
  • British Army Service Records.
  • British Royal Air Force, Officers Service Records 1912-1920.
  • National Archives: WO 95/2744/1  –  1/23 Battalion London Regiment.
  • Page 7073 | Supplement 29669, 14 July 1916 | London Gazette
  • RAF Museum Storyvault
  • Find a Grave – Herbert Dudley Pashley.



  • Trevor Torkington – Main Research.
  • Anonymous (Find a Grave) Photo of Grave.
  • Steve Grimwood (Find a Grave) Photo of Family Grave.
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