Lieutenant The Hon H F P Lubbock

The Honourable Horold Fox Pitt Lubbock of Old Hall Langham, 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, was killed in action on 4 Apr 1918, aged 29. He was born on 10 Jun 1888, the son of the late John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury and his second wife, Alice Lane Fox-Pitt, of Kingsgate Castle, Kent. His father was a Liberal MP and scientist follower of Darwin, aged 55 when Harold was born. Harold was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, gaining an MA. He became a partner in the family firm of Robarts, Lubbock & Co, and after the amalgamation in September 1914 with Coutts & Co he became an additional Managing Partner. For some years before the outbreak of the war he had held a commission in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Yeomanry, which Regiment included several members of the staff of Robarts, Lubbock & Co. who had joined to serve with him. He reached the rank of captain and is photographed here in the West Kent Yeomanry service dress.

After the outbreak of war, when he was just over 26 years old and recently married, he served with his Regiment in Kent till it was sent to Egypt and from there as a dismounted force to Gallipoli. He suffered the hardships in Gallipoli with the Helles force till the evacuation, when the Regiment was sent to Palestine. He acted as Adjutant during most of the time when abroad and was promoted Captain in January 1917. Being anxious to serve in the Western Front, he obtained a transfer to the Grenadier Guards in July 1917 with the reduced rank of lieutenant, and after some months with the Regiment in England he went over to France. He joined the 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion on 29 Mar 1918 and served in the trenches with them till he met his death in action near Arras on April 4th. The regimental history says:

'The 2nd Battalion went up into the line [on 3 April 1918] and found the trenches very wet. On the 4th, during a heavy shelling, which was entirely directed against no.1 Company on the right, Lieutenant the Hon H F P Lubbock was killed by a shell which pitched in the trench. This was a great loss to the battalion, for he was an officer of sound judgement, who did not know what fear was. Corporal Teague MM was killed at the same time, and 6 men were wounded.'

He had been slightly gassed before this, but had not previously been wounded. A brother officer wrote:

"Wherever he went he introduced the most valuable element. Whatever the conditions he was always alert, quick and keen, and strongly infected others with the same qualities. War was repulsive to him in every way, yet he never showed it, and so the vitality and charm which he radiated was not merely a natural 'joie de vie,' but sprang from a heart of real courage and fortitude." All who knew him testify to his splendid qualities both as a man and an officer. He seems to have been fearless to a fault, and as sound and capable as he was brave. The urbanity and charm which characterised his father, the first Baron Avebury, better known to his own generation as Sir John Lubbock, the eminent scientist and author, were reproduced in his son, who inherited the keen business instincts of his race. He was devoted to hunting and, before coming to Langham, hunted several seasons with the Vale of White Horse Hunt."

His brother, Capt Eric F P Lubbock of the RFC also fell, on 11 Mar 1917. Harold is buried in Boisleux-au-Mont Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave 3. His wife, Dorothy, daughter of Lord Forster, also lost both her brothers in the war. Their son, John Lubbock became the 3rd Baron Avebury

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by Stephen Luscombe