BIRD Herbert Horace

Category: Military
Rank: Sapper
Regiment or Ship: 3rd Batt. Norfolk Regiment; 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade: 105th Field Co. Royal Engineers.
Service Number(s): 9584; 62190
Occupation: Tailor
Date of Birth: 1871
Place of Birth: Smallburgh, Norfolk
Date of Death: 27.07.1942
Place of Death: St. Pancras Hospital, London NW1 Address: 82 Windsor Road, Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Parents:          William Bird (1837-1883), b. Colby, Norfolk, and Maria Bird – nee Towler – (1836-1901), born Smallburgh.


Arthur E. Bird, b. 1862 in Smallburgh.

Albert J. Bird, b. 1864 in Smallburgh.

Ernest W. Bird, b. 1866 in Smallburgh.

Robert H. Bird, b. 1869 in Smallburgh.

Blanche Bird, b. 1873 in Smallburgh.

Beatrice Bird, b. 1876 in Smallburgh.

In 1881 William, Maria and family were living in Stalham, Norfolk, and William was employed as a farm bailiff.

Spouse: On 3rd December 1911 Herbert married a widow, Lucy Cane – nee Filmer – (1880-1960).

They had two children:- Beatrice Lucy Maud Bird (1912-2014) and Herbert Reginald Bird (1914-2002). Lucy had three children from her previous marriage:- Reginald, Winifred Alice, and Henry.

Herbert died on 27th July 1942 in the St. Pancras Hospital of carcinoma of the oesophagus.

First World War Experience

Herbert had two careers in the Armed Forces. He had served with his local Territorial unit, the 3rd Bn. Norfolk Regiment, before enlisting in 1888 – aged 18 – with the 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade. At the time he was 5’ 5¼” tall, weighed 118lbs, and had a 33” chest measurement. He had a sallow complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. He was recorded as having a circular scar on the left side of his jaw and a small scar in the middle of his forehead. His physical development was ‘Fair’, he had no smallpox marks, but had three vaccination marks on his left arm. He was a Baptist.

Herbert stayed in England until 12th December 1899 when he was posted to South Africa – staying there until 6th August 1901, during which time he was present at the Battle of Tugela Heights and the Relief of Ladysmith. He was finally demobbed on 22nd August 1901.

During his time with the Rifle Brigade Herbert was convicted of malicious damage as per the following indictment:-

“Certificate of Conviction

Charged on 18.12.1893 that on 17.12.1893 Herbert Horace Bird did 1) wilfully and maliciously broke a signal lamp property of the Dublin Tramway Co., and 2) furiously drove a horse and hack car to the common danger of the public on the thoroughfare. “

For each offence he was fined 5/- (if the fine was not paid he would be imprisoned for four days for each offence).

On 11th January 1915 Herbert again enlisted in the Forces – this time the 105th Field Co., Royal Engineers. At this time he was 44 years old and was 5’ 6¾” tall, with a 34½” chest – expanded by 1¾”. His medical category was given as B1.

He served in France from 27th September 1915. His service in the Royal Engineers is not clear but he did spend some time in a General Hospital in England from 4th March 1919 and received a Disability Notice on 23rd June 1919.

On 23rd July 1919 it was reported in the London Gazette that he had been awarded the Military Medal. Notice of this also appeared in one of the local newspapers stating that:-


The King has approved of the award of the Military Medal to Sapper H. H. Bird, 62190, 105th Field Co., Royal Engineers.

As well as the MM Herbert was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal, and the 1914-1915 Star.

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