Henry Kenyon Bagshaw 13 April 1918

Lieutenant Henry Kenyon Bagshaw was a vicar’s sons. He was born in 1892 in Radnorshire but brought up in Chatteris in Cambridgeshire. He was at school in Hunstanton before arriving in Oundle and New House where he stayed for just five terms before leaving in the summer of 1909. He then took up land agency work.

He joined the Public Schools Corps in September 1914 but then transferred to the Army Service Corps, having failed to get into the infantry because of defective eyesight. He served in France throughout 1915 and 1916 and had four months sick leave when he went down with typhoid fever in August 1916.

In 1917, he was attached to the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment and served at the front before being killed in action near Ypres on 13th April 1918. The Germans had opened up a second big offensive in the Ypres/Neuve Chapelle area four days earlier, in the so-called Lys Offensive. After driving forward in the first two days of the attack, it seemed as though the Germans might break through to the Channel ports.

On 11th April, Haig issued his famous order of the day: “With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.” 
However, the German offensive soon stalled because of supply problems and exposed flanks. Although, the Germans gained rather more ground than the British had at Passchendaele the previous year, the hoped for break-out did not materialize and on 29th April 1918, the German offensive was called off.

Henry Bagshaw was caught up in this desperate fighting. His body was never found and he is now one of the four Oundelians commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. In memory of their only son, his parents erected a pulpit in the church in Chatteris.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow