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Forbes, Henry James

Second Lieutenant Henry James Forbes. One of the saddest losses sustained by the College during the war has been that caused by the death in action of Second-Lieut. H. J. Forbes, only son of Mr. H. T. S. Forbes, of Barnes. Forbes entered the College with an excellent record as scholar and athlete, in 1914. He remained for a year, winning the respect of everyone by his character and abilities, and attracting general affection by his cheerfulness and good fellowship. After sitting for his Intermediate Arts Examination in 1915, he felt it to be his duty to volunteer for military service, and accordingly he enlisted as a private in the Public Schools Battalion. Having been trained at Oxford and Edinburgh, he crossed to France in August, 1916, was incorporated into the 4th Royal Fusiliers, and took part in the severe fighting in Ancre, where he was seriously wounded in October of the same year. After recovery, which was much delayed by an attack of pneumonia, he was recommended for a commission. This involved a further course of training, which he underwent at Pembroke College, Cambridge. When this was completed, he was gazetted as Second-Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of Officers and posted to the King's Own Scottish Borderers at the end of January, 1918. After serving for some months in Ireland, he crossed to France on June 11th. He and his men formed part of General Plumer's Army that achieved such remarkable successes in Flanders during the great advance. He speedily made his mark as an officer, showing high powers of leadership and organisation, and at the same time a striking capacity to win the affection of his men. His athletic prowess stood him in good stead. Not only did he himself command respect by his achievements; he also raised his company to a notable standard of efficiency. It was a matter of profound sorrow when on August 18th, 1918, he was instantaneously killed by a German shell as he was leading his men in an attack. His colonel, in announcing his death to his father said- "We mourn the loss of a great companion, a gallant soldier and gentleman." There are none in King's College among his old colleagues and teachers who will not cordially and regretfully echo the Colonel's words. King's College Review, Dec. 1918

Biographical

Surname(s)Forbes
First name(s)Henry James
Family detailsOnly son of Henry T. S. Forbes, B.A., and Edith Forbes, of "Balholm" 17, Beverley Road, Barnes, London.
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dates at college1914
Dept / courseFaculty of Arts
Military unitKing's Own Scottish Borderers, "C" Coy., 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn.
Date enlisted1915
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death18 August 1918
Age at death22
Rank at deathSecond Lieutenant
Cause of deathInstantaneously killed by a German shell
Burial placeBorre British Cemetery, Nord, France
Commemoration(s)King's College Chapel
SourcesKing's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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Forbes, Henry James
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