Herbert Scarborough was born on 5th September, 1893, in Holwell, to Tom Scarborough, a farm wagoner, originally from Long Clawson, and his wife, Mary Ann Scarborough nee Wass, from Whitwell in Nottinghamshire. Tom and Mary Ann had eight children, seven sons and a daughter. Most were born in Holwell although youngest son, Albert, was born at Stone Pit Cottages on Eastwell Road, which at the time was included in the parish of Goadby Marwood, following the family’s move there in the early 1900s. Tom and Mary Ann later moved to Wycomb where they lived for the remainder of their days. Herbert’s sister, Ethel, who never married, gave birth to an illegitimate son whom she named Herbert after her brother; she lived at West View in Wycomb until her death in 1988
By the time the 1911 census was taken, Herbert and three of his brothers, Alfred, Ernest and Walter, had all left home; they were employed at various farms in the local area as labourers. In October 1912, at the age of 19, Herbert emigrated to Australia. He set sail from Tilbury Docks aboard the SS Indrapura, arriving in Melbourne, Australia, six weeks later.
Within two years, war had broken out. Australia’s involvement began when Britain and Germany went to war on 4th August, 1914, and both Prime Minister Joseph Cook and Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher, who were in the midst of an election campaign, pledged full support for Britain. The outbreak of war was greeted in Australia, as in Britain, with great enthusiasm.
Herbert enlisted in the Australian Army in February 1915 at Liverpool, New South Wales, and was assigned to A Company of the 18th Battalion Australian Infantry. The 18th Battalion was raised in 1915 as part of the Australian Imperial Force. Attached to 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division, the Battalion was initially deployed to Gallipoli, where they suffered a large number of casualties before being withdrawn from the line and sent to France and Belgium. Herbert was one of the thousands of Australian troops, or Anzacs as they later became known, to die at Gallipoli.
The Gallipoli Campaign was the land-based element of a military strategy intended to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula, allowing Allied ships to pass through the Dardanelles, capture Constantinople, (today known as Istanbul), and ultimately knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.
However, the repeated British and French bombardments beginning in mid-February against Turkish positions proved to be ineffective. A final attempt to force a passage up the Dardanelles in March ended with the loss of three allied battleships and significant damage to three more.
The fleet withdrew and plans were drawn up for an amphibious invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula to destroy the Ottoman guns. The offensive saw British troops landed at Cape Helles, at the base of the peninsula, with Australian and New Zealand troops landing on the western Aegean coast, in the area later known as Anzac Cove. The Allied troops were met by fierce and disciplined Turkish opposition. Well dug in and heavily fortified on higher ground, the Turks had been reinforced several times and the Allies had badly underestimated the capacity of the enemy forces.
Most of the Allied forces were pinned down on the beaches where they landed and did not advance more than a few hundred yards from the shore. They endured suffocating heat and were unable to bury all their dead resulting in thick swarms of flies. They lacked basic supplies, including fresh water, and thousands died from dysentery as disease spread through the ranks.
In early August, new landings took place to the north of Anzac Cove when Allied forces launched a fresh offensive hoping to break the deadlock. Fierce battles took place at Lone Pine and Chunuk. The offensive failed to end the stalemate and resulted in heavy causalities on both sides. Allied forces were eventually evacuated in January 1916.
Herbert Scarborough was killed by sniper fire on 22nd August, 1915. Two months later, on October 22nd, his death was reported in the Melton Mowbray Times:
We are sorry to learn that No.324 Pte. Herbert Scarborough, A Coy., 18th Batt. 5th Infantry Brigade, Australian Force, has been killed in Gallipoli. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, went out to Australia about two years ago. On the outbreak of war he promptly offered himself for service, and was accepted in the Australian Infantry. His name appeared in the casualty list on October the 4th, as killed in action. His parents, who received a letter from his section officer with expressions of regret, to say that their son was shot dead on going into action. Much sympathy is expressed with Mr. and Mrs. T. Scarborough in their grief. Walter Scarborough, another son, who is in the R.F.A., also volunteered since the war commenced, and is now in France.
Herbert is commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Çanakkale, Turkey. Like his comrades in the British Army, he was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914/15 Star. The medals, together with a memorial plaque, were sent to Herbert’s father, Tom. Three of Herbert's brothers, Ernest, Thomas and Walter, also fought during the First World War, all returned home.
It is estimated that around 50,000 Australian troops were sent to Gallipoli. Of these, just under 9,000 died and almost 20,000 were wounded between the months of April and December 1915. Anzac Day, which takes place on 25th April each year in remembrance of the Gallipoli Campaign, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions.
CWGC Memorial - Herbert Scarborough
Cranyke Farmhouse on Eastwell Road.
It is not clear exactly where Stone Pit Cottages, the home of the Scarborough family, were located, but we know that the cottages were associated with Cranyke Farm which is most likely where Tom Scarborough was employed.
Australian and NZ troops at Anzac Cove, 1915
To learn more about the individual soldiers of Goadby Marwood who gave their lives for their country follow the links below:
Herbert Scarborough KIA 22 Aug 1915
Harry Bottrill KIA 11 Mar 1916
Cecil Thomas Foister KIA 03 May 1917
William Henry Pizer KIA 17 Aug 1917
Albert Edward Essery KIA 01 Oct 1917
Gerald Edgar Ellis KIA 01 Oct 1917
Harry Armstrong KIA 15 Jul 1916
John Thomas Pears DIED 02 Sep 1918