Search our records : Heber Perry

Surname: Perry
Forename(s): Heber
Service Number: 145627
Date of Birth: 15th September 1885
Force: Army
Unit: No. 1 Section 203rd (Cambridgeshire) Field Company Royal Engineers
Date of Death: 29th January 1918
Civilian Occupation: Carpenter and wheelwright
Parents: James and Elizabeth Perry
Home address: 8 Rose Cottages, Clapps Lane, Beer

Heber Perry was born in Branscombe on 15th September 1885, the youngest of the six children of James and Elizabeth Perry.  Both parents and four of the six children were born in Branscombe[1], but by the time of the 1891 census they had moved to Beer, and in the 1901 census they were recorded as living in Cemetery Lane, Beer[2].  By this time Heber was an apprentice carpenter, and his father was a gardener.

At the time of the 1911 census the family was living in 8 Rose Cottages, Clapps Lane, Beer.  Heber, aged 24, had obviously completed his apprenticeship by this time, and is described as a carpenter, while his brother George, aged 38, was a market gardener[3].

Heber enlisted and had his Army medical in Axminster on 9th December 1915, and was officially placed on the Army Reserve, awaiting a date to join the Royal Engineers.  His Army record, now in the National Archives at Kew and online, includes the following details[4]:

Religion:                      C of E

Age:                             30 years, 3 months

Height:                         5ft 5ins

Chest:                          33 ins

Weight:                        126lbs

Physical development: Fair

Vision:                           6/6

Class 1 - General Service

Occupation:                  Carpenter and Wheelwright


In Broadclyst on 26th February 1916 Heber married Alice Bulley, the daughter of Henry Bulley, a farm labourer, and his wife Henrietta.  Alice was born at Huxham, near Stoke Canon, just outside Exeter, but at the time of the 1911 census she was working as a domestic servant to Annie Collins, a costumier, at 45 Pennsylvania Road, Exeter[5].   Heber and Alice had only a few days together before he reported to the Royal Engineers depot at Chatham in Kent on 29th February 1916. 

Heber arrived in France on the 11th August 1916, where he was posted to the Royal Engineers General Base Depot in Rouen.  On 10th September that year he joined the 203rd Field Company.

As a result of either a wound or illness, he was admitted to hospital on 30th March 1917, but returned to his unit on 6th April.  After more than a year on active service in France, he was given leave in the UK from 10th to 21st September 1917.  The next entry on his 'Casualty Form - Active Service' states that he was wounded on 26th January 1918, receiving a gunshot wound to his eye and face.  The final entry on this form shows that he died of his wounds on 29th January.

On 1st February 1918, Alice Perry received a telegram which was sent 'On Military Service':

Regret to inform you Officer Commanding 2nd Casualty Clearing Station France reports 29th January 145627 H. T. [sic] Perry R.E. died 29th January. Gunshot wound eye and face.

On 18th June, Alice received Heber's personal effects, which were carefully listed by the Army:


2 religious books


3 handkerchiefs


Cards  Lighter




Cigarette case


These are the only articles at present forthcoming, but should any further articles be received at any time they will be duly forwarded'

On 17th July 1918 Alice received a letter from the Ministry of Pensions, informing her that she would receive a widow's pension of 13 shillings and 9 pence, payable from 12th August that year.

On 20 August 1920 Alice completed Army Form 5080, listing the other members of Heber's family.  He had two brothers.  John (aged 50 in 1920) was living in Yeovil, while George (47) was in Coombe Dingle, Bristol.  Ellen, at 49 the eldest of Heber's three sisters, was in the Devon Constabulary in Kingskerswell, Bessie (aged 43) was still living in the family home at 8 Rose Cottages in Beer, while Emily (41) was in Canada.

Heber is buried in the Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul, France.  

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the date of Heber's death as 21st January 1918, but the entries in his Army Service Record, especially the one showing that he was not wounded until 26th January, show that this cannot be the right date.  His Army record casualty sheet clearly shows his date of death as 29th January 1918[1].

In addition, the war diary of Heber's unit, the 203rd Field Company, Royal Engineers, lists no casualties on 21st January, but on the 25th it says:

"1 sapper and 2 inf [infantry] wounded, the sapper eventually dying from wounds".

This entry appears to refer to Heber Perry.

[1] Army Service Record, National Archives, via



[1] Two of the children, Emily and Edith, were born in Salcombe (1891 census, via

[2] 1901 census, via

[3] 1911 census, via

[4] Army Service Record, National Archives, via

[5] Ditto