22nd Sep, 2020

Redditch remembers: Tragic role in a classic charge

Ross Crawford 19th Nov, 2017

THE Charge at Huj in Palestine in November 1917, carried out by soldiers of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and Worcestershire Yeomanry, was the last classic cavalry charge in the history of the British Army.

It happened on November 8 and Redditch soldier Harry Found was one of those who took part.

Harry was born in 1884 in Enham, Hampshire, the son of Lidney and Mary Found of Lewes.

Soon after the 1901 census he moved to Redditch where he worked as a groom at the Unicorn Hotel on Unicorn Hill.

In 1902 he married Emma Louise Pratley in Bromsgrove and the couple lived at 2 Wellington Street just behind Alcester Street in the town centre.

They had four children, only two of whom survived infancy.

Emily worked for Henry Milward and Sons as a needle brusher but on the outbreak of war Harry joined the 1st Worcestershire Yeomanry as a trooper.

His unit embarked at Avonmouth on April 9, 1915 for service with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, disembarking at Alexandria, Egypt, 15 days later.

Two years and a half years later in Palestine, they were advancing on the small village of Huj with the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

There they found the road blocked by German and Turkish gunners.

At the word of command, the combined force of 12 officers and 158 men drew their swords and galloped against the guns and a mass of 2,000 Turkish soldiers.

Darcy Harold Jones, the last survivor of the charge who died in 1997 recalled an officer shouting: “It’s the guns we’re after, lads!”

One eyewitness recalled: “Serving their guns rapidly, the artillerymen constantly shortened the range, until, as the shouting Yeomanry dashed sword in hand up to the batteries, shells were bursting as they left the muzzles. While they were ploughed by the shells, the horsemen also rode through a whirl of machine-gun fire. But they spurred right home, sabred the gunners and then dashed at a nest of machine-guns and killed the crews.”

Victory was achieved in just 20 minutes.

Twenty-six members of the Yeomanry died in the charge, 40 were wounded, including Harry Found, and 100 horses perished.

Harry was evacuated to Egypt where he died of his wounds on November 14, 1917.

He is buried at the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt and is remembered today on the war memorial at St Stephen’s Church.

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