Topic: Raynal Edward Hubbard

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A soldier of the Great War killed in action during the battle for Gravenstafel Spur, one of two spurs on the ridge above Passchendaele in Flanders, Belgium.

Hubbard, Raynald Edward Private Raynal Edward Hubbard – 37817

Raynal was born in July 1896 at Christchurch, eldest son of Stephen and Mary Hubbard. He attended school at Greenpark and before enlisting he was working as a fellmonger for Russell and Taylor Fellmongers at Longburn, Palmerston North. A fellmonger removes sheep's wool or the hair of other animals from hides in preparation for tanning. He had previous military experience with the Territorials. He was 5ft 9¾ in tall with a medium complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

Ray enlisted on 13th October 1916 and was assigned to the Canterbury Infantry, 22nd Reinforcements. He was promoted to Corporal on 2nd November 1916 before he embarked from Wellington on 12 February 1917 for England. He arrived in Plymouth and marched into Sling where he reverted to Lance Corporal on 2nd May. However he was admitted to hospital at Tidworth suffering from pneumonia a couple of weeks later on 25th May. Almost a month later he was moved to No 3 General Hospital at Codford on 22nd June and then to convalesce at Hornchurch on 28th. After three week he was considered well enough for action and was taken on the strength at Codford and joined the Reserve group at Sling Camp.  He left for France on 20th August and was taken on the strength at Etaples on 23rd.  He was posted to the 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment and joined them in the field on 29th August. At his own request he reverted to a simple Private on 17th September and rejoined the ranks. He was killed in action on 4th October 1917, aged 21.  During the fighting the 3rd Canterbury Battalion reached the top of the spur (Abraham Heights), and came under direct machine-gun fire from the high ground to the north and north-east. During this time the troops lying in the open suffered a good many casualties, nearly all from machine-gun fire. Raynal’s body was not found or identified and his name is inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. In New Zealand Raynal is remembered on the Greenpark Memorial.         

Raynal sent a number of postcards to a friend Elsie. Elsie's grand-daughter has transcribed them all, visit this wonderful and inspiring site!! Postcard 252 is a photograph of Raynal

CWGC Cemetery locale history: The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele. The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September. The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations, except New Zealand, who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917 (with some exceptions). Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. Other New Zealand casualties are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery. The TYNE COT MEMORIAL now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F.V. Blundstone, was unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett 20 June 1927. The memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of TYNE COT CEMETERY, which was established around a captured German blockhouse or pill-box used as an advanced dressing station. The original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck, and from a few small burial grounds. It is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials. At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box. There are three other pill-boxes in the cemetery. There are now 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery, 8,369 of these are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

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Raynal Edward Hubbard

First Names:Raynal Edward
Last Name:Hubbard
Date of Birth:July 1896
Place of Birth:Christchurch
Date of Death:4 October 1917
Place of Death:Ypres, Belgium
Memorial or Cemetery:Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing
Age at death:21
User Name:Selwyn Library
Other names known by:Ray
Occupation before enlisting:Fellmonger
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:58/18
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:13 October 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Stephen and Mary Jane Hubbard
Service Number:37817
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:13 February 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Western Front
Cause of Death:Killed in action
Other biographical information:Son of Mrs. M. Matthews (formerly Hubbard), of Julyean St., Shannon, Wellington.