Private Richard Lohmann (15th Bn London Rifles (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles)) No. 534630.
The son of a naturalised German from Schleswig-Holstein, Private Richard Cornell Lohmann is buried in the family plot in the Old Cemetery. Born in Tottenham, North London on 10th February 1879, Richard served with the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles, which in 1908 was incorporated into the newly formed London Regiment and designated as the 15th Battalion London Rifles.
As declared on his headstone, Richard ‘Died of wounds received fighting for his country’ at the age of 29. From the sources that I have been able to locate it is not possible to state with certainty where he was wounded, but it is known that the 15th Battalion London Rifles were in action at Passchendaele (The infamous Third Battle of Ypres) which lasted from 31st July to 10th November 1917, dates that would tie in with the known fact that he succumbed to his injuries in early October of that year. The epitaph ‘.... of wounds received fighting for his country’ is especially poignant as the family retained their German surname throughout the war, a decision that was not without repercussions in the pervading atmosphere of intense anti-German sentiment that existed at the time.
The following two soldiers have a special meaning for me as they both lived in the Newtown area of Bishops Stortford, as do I as a resident of Apton Road. Nearly every day I pass through Castle Street and Bartholomew Road where the two men once lived.
Private Herbert Solomon Kitchener (1/5th Bn Bedfordshire Regiment) No. 45687.
Herbert attempted to enlist earlier in the war but was turned away having failed to satisfy the minimum required chest measurements, an early indication of pulmonary insufficiency that would ultimately lead to his premature death at the age of 33. However, as the war raged into its fourth year, the Recruiting Sergeants of the British Army were forced to reduce the physical minimums for enlistment in order to reinforce the battered Regiments in the line. This shift in the requirements meant that on the 19th March 1917, Herbert Solomon Kitchener got his wish and became a Private of the Bedfordshire Regiment. After basic training he was posted to Egypt where the 1/5th Battalion were fighting with the Ottoman forces in Palestine.
Clearly, the arid and dusty conditions in the area were disastrous for Herbert who was admitted to hospital on numerous occasions to the extent that he was sent home in August 1918 (a decision that the Army never took lightly due to the cost associated with removing a soldier from the front line). Shortly thereafter he was discharged from the Army on the grounds of being ‘physically unfit’ having ‘Tubercule of Lung, 80%’. Sadly, Herbert died at home at 35 Castle Street, directly opposite my local pub, The Castle’, on the 3rd May 1920. He left a wife Margaret and a son of 3 years, also named Herbert Solomon.