1897 - 31st January 1919 (age 22)
3rd Bn. Grenadier Guards
The following item appeared in the Yorkshire Gazette 15th February 1919:
Died In Rescuing German Children
The death under tragic circumstances is reported of Pte Herbert Pollington, Grenadier Guards son of Mr. and Mrs. W.Pollington, Victoria-avenue, Sowerby, Thirsk. Pte Pollington who joined the Army in November 1914 at the age of 17, had seen much of the fierce fighting on the Western Front, and his record was unique for he had been six times wounded, twice gassed and once shell shocked. He was the first Englishman to enter Maubeuge when it was taken by his battalion. Last year he received the Military Medal for gallant conduct. He was third in connection with the Thirsk Primitive Methodist Society to earn his honour, and it was intended to make a demonstration when he came home. He was drowned on 31 January. He had apparently seen some German children had fallen through the ice, and though he had skates on he went to the rescue. He succeeded in rescuing several, but in the final attempt to rescue the last child he fell into the water, and whether from cramp or not he was dead when got out having died of exhaustion. Amongst the wreaths sent on the occasion of the funeral was one from the Mayor of Cologne.
Herbert Pollington was born in Northallerton the son of William and Mary who had originated from Cambs and Norfolk respectively. The family soon moved to Kirgate in Thirsk, and later to Victoria Avenue where they were living in 1911. Herbert was the eldest of three sons and a daughter, a further child having died. His father, William became a boot and shoe repairer with his own business at Town End.
Herbert Pollington from Thirsk Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919
Herbert's army service records have not survived, but his medal roll indicates he served overseas from 5th October 1915.
A record from Stepping Hill Auxiliary Military Hospital, Hazel Grove near Stockport shows that Herbert was admitted there on 19th September 1916 after being wounded on 15th September. On that date, his battalion was on the Somme in the same battle which took the lives of John Richard Atkinson, Harry Kendrew, William Seavers and Waldo Skipsey. Herbert had apparently suffered a bullet wound to the right buttock. The medical record describes the injury as "superficial" but it was serious enough to keep him in hospital for two weeks being discharged on 3rd October when he was considered fit or discharge class "a" and was sent for ten days sick furlough.
The Grenadier Guards 3rd Bn. war diary shows that they entered Maubeuge on 8th November 1918 which must be the occasion mentioned in the newspaper article.
Herbert's grave can be found at Cologne Southern Cemetery plot I.E.21.
The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.
Information about Herbert Pollington on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Information about Herbert Pollington on the War Graves Photographic Project website
Part of the St Oswald's Church website