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Second Lieutenant, Leicestershire Regiment

Born: February 27th 1895
Died: September 15th 1916

Age at Death: 21

Killed in action, France, September 15th 1916

Grave reference Guards Cemetery, Les Boeufs, Somme, France.

Son of H.P.H. Webb of Brighton. Brother to Aldred Henderson Webb (Ju./Ha. 1904-1912).
Brighton War Memorial.

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by Paul and Patricia Goodman.

Obituary Brightonian XV December, 1916
After being in the Junior School for four years, Webb, entered Hampden House in September, 1908.  He was made a House Prefect in September 1911, and was in the First VIII., Fives, and a Lance-Corporal in the O.T.C. before he left the College at the end of the Summer Term, 1912. His Colonel writes:- "He led his men most gallantly, and was killed at their head on the German wire. He showed great promise, and we are all sorry to lose him." His Company Commander writes:- "He was killed in the early morning of September 15th, at the head of his men, most of whom were killed with him by a machine gun hidden in a shell hole in front of the German line. He was killed instantaneously, and was actually within a few yards of the enemy position when he fell."

John Clifford Webb (Hampden House 1904-1912)

John Webb was born on February 27th 1895 in Cuckfield, Sussex. He was the younger brother of Alfred Webb (see above) and third child, of five, of Henry and Elizabeth Webb. At the College Webb was in the Junior School for four years before entering Hampden House in September, 1908.  He was in the 1st VIII Fives team, as well as being a House Prefect and a Lance Corporal in the OTC. It is unclear what he did immediately after leaving school but he volunteered for service and in May 1915 received a commission in the Leicestershire Regiment, later being attached to the 1st Battalion in France, which formed part of the 6th Division.

The 6th Division played a prominent part in the later stages of the Battle of the Somme, taking part in the Battle of Flers Coucelette, in which tanks were used, albeit ineffectively, for the first time. On the 6th Division’s portion of the front four days of attacks were made on a strong German position known as the “Quadrilateral Redoubt”, which was eventually taken, allowing the Guards Division to follow up the attack with an advance of 2000 yards. On the first day of the attack, September 15th 1916, Webb was killed while attempting to get through the German wire at the head of his platoon. His company commander wrote following his death that:

‘He was killed…at the head of his men, most of whom were killed with him by a machine gun hidden in a shell hole in front of the German line. He was killed instantaneously, and was actually within a few yards of the enemy position when he fell.’

Webb’s grave is in the Guard’s Cemetery, Les Boeufs, France.

Source: LEST WE FORGET Project, Brighton College 2014-15

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