1914 - Albert Hiscock WW1

Albert Hiscock

Albert was the youngest son of Joseph Hiscock Agricultural Labourer and his wife Caroline nee Fishlock, Joseph was her second husband.  Albert was registered at birth has Albert Edward Hiscock in the Dec Qtr of 1890, with his birthplace given has Wilcot, Oare or Pewsey depending on which census you consult, he was baptized on the 23rd December 1894 at Wilcot.

In 1909 at the age of 18 he joined the Grenadier Guards Service No 14364 and in 1911 he was in the 3rd Battalion billeted at Wellington Barracks, London. At the outbreak of war he was attached to the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards.

On the 6th October 1914 he embarked from Dover with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards part of the British Expeditionary Force and landed at the Belgium port of Zeebrugge on the 7th.  The battalion travelled on from Zeebrugge to Bruges and then to Ostend where they entrained for Ghent.  There were various skirmishes with the enemy on the way and everywhere was in chaos with the roads clogged with escaping Belgium refugees and the Belgium Army retreating from Antwerp.  Eventually after a great deal of marching, much outpost work and very little sleep they reached Ypres.

The first battle of Ypres lasted for four desperate weeks from 19th October to 20th November, the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards were entrenched at Kruiseik to the east of Ypres and were heavily shelled, it was on the 24th October that the Germans attacked in force supported by machine guns causing heavy losses, they again attacked at sunset on the 25th continuing all night. Battalion Headquarters reported 200 casualties and 150 the day before and wrote of the difficulty they had getting them removed.  October the 26th again saw the trenches penetrated but the enemy were again repulsed, heavy shelling on the dugouts caused them to collapse burying the men within, many suffocated before they could be rescued.  The Grenadier Guards fell back to the river at Basseville, at this point they had been five days and nights without relief and the Brigade was down to half its total strength.

October 27th they were at Basseville, then they moved on to Gheluvelt on the 28th October.  Orders were received to move to the crossroads S.E. of Gheluvelt where there were no trenches.

October 29th  dawned very foggy  the Germans opened up with a tremendously heavy shell fire which proved to be a prelude to their main attack on the crossroads, the Guards were rushed by overwhelming numbers of the enemy from front and rear.  At the end of this action of the 20 Officers and 670 other ranks that had moved from Basseville on the 27th October only 5 Officers and 200 men were left.

On the 30th October the remaining men were in reserve and at nightfall they withdrew to Veldhoek.

October 31st started with terrific shell-fire, the Grenadiers were led by a Brigadier in person in the hopes of stemming a German advance, a small portion of Grenadiers were now confronted by thousands of Germans but their attack appeared to be disjointed and unorganized, they advanced to three hundred yards and were mown down by the fire of the Grenadiers,  Germans also  penetrated at the rear and all reserves had been used but they  managed to hang on until nightfall having no communication with headquarters they withdrew at 6pm with their numbers having decreased to 50 men.  Most of the casualties caused by shells.

From the 1st to 5th November they were repeatedly shelled but never gave way they were finally relieved on the 5th November.

There is no War Diary from the 20th October to 6th November 1914. The following is written:

Was occupied in continuous fighting during which the 1st Batt very heavily engaged not possible to keep diary.

Albert was killed in action less than a month after arriving in Belgium on or since the engagement of the 29th October 1914, he is one of the missing and is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.  Bay 9 Stone F.

Three in every ten guards would be killed during the war.

His soldier’s gratuities were given to his by then widowed mother Caroline and his brother Williams wife Eva.

He was awarded the 1914 Star, the War and Victory Medal.