HUNT, Basil

No.13545, Private, Basil HUNT
Aged 23

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916

Basil HUNT was born in Stow cum Quy in 1896 (Chesterton Q2-1896 3B:453), son of ? HUNT (possibly Kate)

1901 census...Aged 5, he was Stow End, Stow cum Quy with his grandfather, William D HUNT [50] miller in flour mill, born Gt Wilbraham ; grandmother Maria Jane [47] born Fulbourn; uncles William [19[ stockman on farm, Ernest[14] miller in flour mill both born in Lt Wilbraham, George [8] and Charles H [6] both born in Quy; aunts Sarah A [12]and Rebecca [10] both born in Lt Wilbraham

1911 census...Aged 15, a milker on dairy farm, he was still at Stow End with his widowed grandmother; uncles George (farm labourer) and Charles Henry (miller)

His uncle Charles Henry was killed in France in 1918 serving in the Suffolk Regiment.... click here

He enlisted in Cambridge. His sole legatee was his grandmother Maria J

He was killed on the worst day in British military history, 60,000 casualties, around 20,000 of them dead. The 11th Suffolks were part of 34th Division, as yet untried in battle, in the front of the attack opposite La Boiselle. At 7.28 a mine containing 60,000 lbs of ammonal was blown, creating a crater (Lochnagar crater) 55 feet deep and 220 feet across. 2 minutes later the attack began, the 11 Suffolks following the 10th Lincolns advancing on a line through the centre of Bailiff Wood. The Germans however were in great strength in La Boiselle and as the Suffolks advanced they immediately came under heavy machine gun fire. The lines of men were quickly reduced to groups of 3 and four and by 8 am the battle was decided. Hundreds lay wounded, a pitiful few had managed to reach the German wire. Occasionally a man rose and tried to get forward, only to fall again. Even those few who did reach the parapet were quickly despatched by flame throwers.
Of all the battalions in the battle of Albert, the 11th Suffolks fared worst, with very nearly 700 casualties (a battalion is nominally just over 1,000 men). The 11th Suffolk suffered 188 killed on the 1st July, 147 of them have no known grave.

Basil was found near Lochnagar Crater, as shown below, then interred in Ovillers Military Cemetery sometime in 1919. The concentration card says identification was by BC21, but so far no idea what that means.

photo: Chris(tine) Eaton

photo: Rodney Gibson

Basil Hunt is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery, grave 3:B:4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details