Friday, 20 May 2011

H A B Dealtry

Herbert Arthur Berkeley Dealtry
Born 11 April 1878 in Clevedon, Somerset  Killed in Action 26 September 1915 at Loos
Captain 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment

Herbert Dealtry, known as Berkeley, was the son of Everard Dealtry and Guilia Williams Wynne.  Although he was born in Clevedon, Berkeley was christened at All Saints, Notting Hill on 20 July 1878.  Everard described himself as a gentleman on the parish register - I am not too sure!  I haven't time to research him properly and, after all, he is not the subject of this post, but I believe that he was certainly married several times, possibly committing bigamy.  What is certain is that he and Guilia had four sons, Everard Archer, Herbert (Berkeley), Adrian Rose and Cosmo.

(Update - just found out that Guilia and Everard divorced in 1885, so Everard's later marriage in 1886 was legal - he then divorced again in 1902 and remarried a final time.  Guilia also remarried in 1886 - her new husband, Manfred Brotherton was also divorced. I notice that Cosmo Dealtry was born in 1886 and his second name was Manfred, like Guilia's new husband.  Guilia died in 1902, Manfred remarried a third time, but died at his home in France in 1904.)

Berkeley attended school in Bristol for a time and later joined the Worcestershire Regiment.  On the 1901 Census he was recorded as a Lieutenant at the Ramillies Barracks near Farnborough.  It was around this time that Berkeley met a young married woman, Kathleen Klein (nee Cornwell).  Kathleen was an Australian heiress whose father, a former railway guard, had made a vast fortune as a gold prospector. Alice Cornwell,  her eldest sister, inherited the gold mine and was able to buy the Sunday Times newspaper.

Kathleen, who was born in 1872, had married Herman Klein a noted musical critic, author and singing teacher, when she was 17; Klein was nearly twice Kathleen's age and divorced from his first wife.  The couple had three children together.  Klein divorced Kathleen on discovering her affair with Berkeley and she and Berkeley married in 1902.  Unfortunately, the Dealtrys soon got into financial difficulties, due to their involvement with the organisation of dog shows and missing prize money(!)  This episode ended with Berkeley being declared bankrupt and the couple decamping to the United States for a while.  Their financial woes may have been the impetus for Kathleen to start writing; she became a prolific author of romantic novels, under a number of pen names, including Kit Dealtry.

The Dealtrys returned from the United States and set up home in Newquay.  The 1911 Census records them at Narrowcliff, in a house which would have looked out over Newquay Bay.  Most of the houses on this stretch of road were converted to hotels, and a number have recently been demolished.

Berkeley returned to the Army fairly promptly after the outbreak of war.  He is listed in the London Gazette on 22 September 1914 having been granted the temporary rank of Captain. He was sent to the 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. The 9th Battalion was part of Kitchener's K3 Group, and attached to the 73rd Brigade of 24th Division.  After training in Aldershot the Battalion landed at Boulogne at the beginning of September 1915.

The Battalion were ordered to move on the evening of  21 September 1915 in readiness for the major offensive at Loos. They moved out to Dennebroucq, marching 15 miles.  From here they made for Isburges, arriving on 23rd, having travelled 19 miles.  They then marched to Burgette, through Vermelles and toward Annay and Pont a Vedin.  They halted due to a lack of orders.  However, by the following day, 26 September, orders were received to attack the enemy's position at 11 am.  Considering the lengthy marches they had endured on the preceding days, they must have been exhausted.

Together with the 8th Royal West Kent Brigade, the 9th East Surreys, formed the firing line for 72nd Brigade.   Support was provided by the 8th Buffs and 8th Queens.  The attack carried through to the enemy trenches but the wire could not be breached and the men were caught in heavy machine gun cross fire.  The order was given to retire which, according to the Battalion war diary, was carried out in good order.  The 24th Division remained in the trenches under heavy shelling until relieved by the Guards Division. The loss to the Battalion was heavy:  14 officers, including Berkeley Dealtry, and 438 other ranks.

Berkeley is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.  His brother Adrian served with the Suffolk Regiment and survived the war, dying in 1959.  Cosmo Dealtry lived until 1965.  Kathleen Clarice Cornwell Dealtry remarried, continued writing and died in Hove in 1954.

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