In Memoriam: Hubert Pumphrey

Photograph of Hubert Pumphrey

Hubert Pumphrey

Hubert Pumphrey, of Bradford, was killed in action in Flanders on 26th April, 1918, aged 37 years.

Hubert was born in 1881 in Sunderland and attended Bootham School from 1895 to 1898. At school, Hubert was active in various societies. He was a member of the Discussion Society, and was involved in Senior Debate.  He was in the Natural History Club, with interests including Archaeology and Drawing. In 1896 at the Annual Exhibition, Hubert won prizes in Stumping (from cast), Pastel work, Illuminations, and Photography.  He took part in  Athletics (Seniors Vault), and in Aquatics, and was a member of the 1st XI football team.  After Bootham, Hubert studied at Durham College of Science.

In the February 1908 issue of “Bootham”, the school magazine, Hubert’s marriage is recorded:

“PUMPHREY—BIGLAND.—On the 11th December, 1907, at Cockermouth, Hubert Pumphrey (1895—8), of Sunderland, to Daisy Bigland, of Birkenhead.”

A year later (February 1909) “Bootham” records the birth of his daughter:

“PUMPHREY.—On the 4th December, 1908, at Bradford, Daisy, wife of Hubert Pumphrey (1895-8), a daughter, who was named Anstice Mary.”

Hubert is next mentioned in the March 1916 issue of “Bootham”:

“Bootham School War Lists,

Under Military Discipline :—

[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

Pumphrey, Arnold, Lieut., 20th Durham Light Infantry

Pumphrey, Hubert.”

(Arnold Pumphrey was Hubert’s younger brother.)

The July 1916 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months”, reports:

“HUBERT PUMPHREY is training at Berkhamsted. In spite of his years he finds he can stick as well as most although (this for the Censor) there is a tendency to go to sleep in lectures given in the evening after a long march and field exercises with pack and rifle.”

and then the October 1916 issue reports:

“H. PUMPHREY joined the **** * O.T.C. last February.”

The July 1918 issue of “Bootham” prints a list of those Old Scholars killed in the War.  Hubert, and his brother Arnold” are both included. The “Deaths” section of the same issue has:

“PUMPHREY.—On the 26th April, 1918, killed in action in Flanders, Hubert Pumphrey, of Sunderland (1895-8), aged 37.”

Hubert’s “In Memoriam” piece in “Bootham” appeared in the December 1918 issue:

“HUBERT PUMPHREY (1895-98), 2nd Lieut. Cheshire Regt., was killed while leading his men at Kemmel Hill April 26th, 1918.

Hubert Pumphrey, son of T. E. Pumphrey, of Mayfield, Sunderland, came of an old Quaker family, one of his soldier ancestors having laid down his sword and embraced the Quaker faith in Cromwell’s time. Like his brothers—the late Capt. Arnold Pumphrey, D.S.O., Durham Light Infantry, and Lieut. (Acting- Captain) Stanley W. Pumphrey, M.C., R.F.A.—he was educated at Bootham, where he was a reeve and in the football XI. After further study at the Durham College of Science he was articled to W. P. Thompson, patent agent, in Liverpool, and eventually, after becoming a member of the C.P.A., was made a partner in the firm. He represented the firm in Bradford for some years, during which time he took an interest in and worked for the Guild of Help. In the early days of the war he was secretary for the Heaton Hall Home for Belgian Refugees, but he felt this work was not enough, and that he must do what he increasingly felt to be his duty—join the fighting forces. In December, 1915, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., obtaining in November, 1916, a commission in the Cheshire Regiment. He went to France early in 1917, and was wounded near Ypres in July of that year, being sent home to hospital. In April, 1918, he rejoined his old battalion in France. Early in the dawn of April 26th (less than a fortnight after leaving England) he led his men in what was described as ” a very gallant counter-attack ” on Kemmel Hill, and while running ahead of them he was caught by machine gun fire and instantly killed.

He married in 1907 Daisy, daughter of the late Charles Bigland, of Birkenhead, who pre-deceased him, leaving one child, a daughter. H. K. P”

Second Lieutenant Hubert Pumphrey, of the 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres, Belgium.

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