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Bernard Noble

Gunner Bernard Noble, 184865, Royal Garrison Artillery, 2nd Reserve Brigade, 7th Battery

Bernard Noble was born in Horbury in early Spring 1890 and baptised at St. Paul’s and St. Leonard’s Church Horbury on the 4th May 1890. He was the only child of John Henry Noble and his wife, Martha (formerly Fallas, nee Chappell) who married at the same Church on the 14th October 1883. Martha, aged 28 and a widow, had first married Albert Fallas at Horbury in 1874, but Albert died tragically in 1876. The couple were childless.

In 1891 Bernard, aged one year, was living with his parents, John Henry and Martha, at Northgate, Horbury where his father worked as a foreman worsted spinner. Sadly Bernard’s mother, Martha, died in Spring 1891, aged 36 years, leaving John Henry a widower with a one year old child.

By 1901 John Henry and Bernard had moved into lodgings on Co-operative Street, Horbury but John Henry died in late 1901 aged only 46 years. Bernard was only 11 years-old but had lost both of his parents. No evidence of Bernard’s whereabouts between 1901 and 1911 has emerged, but by this latter year Bernard, aged 20, had left Horbury and was studying at St Luke’s College, Exeter. Now part of Exeter University, at the time that Bernard was a student in 1911, St Luke’s was a Teacher Training College.

Bernard returned to his home town of Horbury and on 24th April 1915, he married Edith Round at St. Paul’s and St. Leonard’s Church, Horbury. The bride and groom were both aged 25 and Bernard, a teacher, was living at 21 Co-operative Street, Horbury. A son, Jack Noble, was born to the couple in late 1915.

Conscription was introduced in March 1916, but certain categories of worker, including teachers, were exempted. Out a sense of duty or for other reasons Bernard did subsequently enlist in the army, although his army service record has not survived. Neither has a record emerged of an award of any medals suggesting that Bernard did not serve overseas in a WW1 theatre of war and this might suggest that he had not been long in the army by the time of his death on the 7th October 1918.

It is known that Bernard Noble enlisted at Wakefield and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery (R.G.A.) where he became a Gunner with the service number 184865. Gunner Noble, aged 28, of 2 Reserve R.G.A. died at Easton Military Hospital, Winchester on the 7th October 1918. His death was registered at Winchester and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) remember him at Horbury Cemetery at grave reference F.U.74. It is most likely that his death was due to Spanish Influenza, which was the cause of many deaths in 1918 when an epidemic raged throughout Europe.

The 1st and 2nd RGA Reserve Brigades (Heavy) were both based at Winchester and were established as training units and for draft replacement.

It is not known if Bernard’s widow, Edith, remarried but, following Bernard’s death, the CWGC recorded her address as 8, Cheshunt Terrace, Horbury. There is a record of a Wakefield death in Summer 1926 of an Edith A. Noble aged 36 years, which matches her age profile.

Gunner Bernard Noble, aged 28 years, died on the 7th October 1918 and is buried at grave reference F. "U." 74 at Horbury Cemetery,1 Wakefield, West Yorkshire. There are 26 WW1 and WW2 casualties buried at Horbury Cemetery.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site