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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

2nd Lieut Hugh Alexander Small (MC)


  • Age: 25
  • From: Belfast
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Hugh Alexander Small was born on 28th March 1891 in Keady, a village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  His parents, Alexander Small and Meta Kennedy Milliken, had married in Belfast in 1884. He had younger sisters Annie and Alice. 

His mother died in 1909 when Hugh was 18.

He was educated at the Methodist College, Belfast, from 1909 to 1911.

He was Commissioned Temp. Second Lieutenant, dated 25th January 1915,  details were published in the Supplement to the London Gazette on 27th January 1915.

The Belfast News of 20th February 1915 also included details under the header:

PROMOTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS

Mr. Hugh Alexander Small, son of Mr. Alexander Samll, Keady, has obtained a commission in the New Army and has been posted to the 16th Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment, with which he takes up duty on 16th inst. Mr Small has been a student at McCrea-Magee College, Derry, and Edinburgh University but lately joined the Officers' Training Corps, Balliol College, Oxford. 

 

The battalion War Diary records that on 16th February 1916, whilst at Bray, 2nd Lieutenants Wilkinson, Baker, Walker, and Small joined the battalion for duty from 16th (Training) Battalion. This was made up of men from the Reserve battalions of both the King's Liverpool and the Manchester Regiment.

Hugh was awarded the Military Cross and this was recorded in the Battalion Diary on 05th June 1916: 

St. Sauveur - Awards.  The Military Cross.  2nd Lieutenant H.A. Small, 20th (S) Bn The King’s Liverpool Regt.

"On May 1916 during a heavy bombardment of the Right Group of Sub Sector Z2 Maricourt, the platoon commanded by 2nd Lt. H. A. Small occupied FT A 16/2 and AP2 and Sap. The men were lying down as ordered in the bottom of the trench, seven however were wounded by shrapnel.  2nd Lt. Small moved along the trenches helping to dress the wounded and whilst the shelling was very heavy round AP2 he went to the top of the Sap to get some of the men back to a safer place. A shell burst in the Sap head whilst he was there, covering him with earth, but he continued his work and all the wounded were very quickly removed under his direction. He showed a fine example of great coolness and courage under fire.”

The award of his Military Cross was announced in the Liverpool Daily Post on 26th June 1916,

 “Temp. Sec. Lieut. Hugh Alexander Small, 16th Bn (attached 20th Bn) Liverpool Regiment.  For conspicuous gallantry during a heavy bombardment by the enemy. He displayed great coolness, helped to dress the wounded, and, after being himself covered with earth from the explosion of a shell, continued his work till all the wounded had been removed.”

The Battle of the Somme began on 1st July 1916.  Hugh survived that terrible first day, but on 10th July the battalion was involved in the attack on Trones Wood.  The murderous fighting for the Pals lasted three days.

Hugh was killed in action aged 25 years during this action and his death was reported in the battalion War Diary, 11th July 1916: 

“In accordance with orders, a section of bombers under 2nd Lt. Small attacked the portion of Maltz Horn Trench north of that occupied by us and after some resistance captured it. It was found to end in a fork one side of which ran to near the E edge of Trones Wood and the other nearly to Guillemont-Trones Wood Road. A considerable number of the enemy (about 50) were killed and 2 machine guns put out of action.  2nd Lt. Small while reconnoitring on the road was killed.”

The fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission index and ‘Officers Died in the Great War ‘both give his date of death as 10th July, but the facts taken from the 20th Battalion War Diary make it certain this is a mistake.

Hugh is commemorated on the following Memorials:

Hall of Remembrance, Liverpool Town Hall, Panel 40. 

Magee College, Londonderry.

Ireland’s Roll of Honour. 

2nd Keady Presbyterian Church, Keady, County Armagh:

IN LOVING MEMORY
HUGH ALEXANDER SMALL MC
2ND LIEUTENANT 20TH BATT THE KING'S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT)
ONLY SON OF ALEXANDER SMALL OF KEADY.
HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION AT TRONES WOOD, FRANCE, ON THE 11TH JULY 1916 WHEN AFTER
CAPTURING A GERMAN REDOUBT WITH A PARTY UNDER HIS COMMAND
HE WAS SHOT BY A GERMAN SNIPER,
HE WAS AWARDED THE MILITARY CROSS FOR GALLANTRY UNDER HEAVY FIRE ON THE 9TH MAY 1916
BORN 28th MARCH 1891
"FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH REV.2:10"
ERECTED BY HIS SORROWING FATHER

JulianB on GWF has a letter his grandfather wrote 25th August 1916 referring to 16th (Training) Bn, KLR:-

Wilkinson, with whom I shared a room for 6 months, has been killed. I did not see it in the paper but I had a letter from Dr McKail the other day. The Dr., Wilkie, Small & I used to play cards together a great deal at Prees, also John & G.F.M.Thomson. Both Wilkie & Small have gone now. Small, you may have heard got the Military X, but did not wear it long poor fellow.
 

We currently have no further information on Hugh Alexander Small, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.



 

 

 

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old