Herbert Pope left Hampshire to come to Chelmsford from where he lived with relatives and worked as a clerk with a firm of solicitors. He joined the army, was wounded in 1916. The following year he was drowned in the Mediterranean Sea when his troopship was sunk by a German submarine.
Herbert was born at Brockenhurst, Hampshire in 1879, the son of George Pope and Julia Pope. His father had been born c1854 in Milford, Hampshire; his mother c1852 at Blackmore End.
Herbert’s only sibling was Charles Pope, also born in Brockenhurst, in 1888.
The 1881 census found one year-old Herbert living with his parents at Brockenhurst, where his father was a wood turner. Eleven year-old Herbert was captured by the 1891 census living with his parents and brother Charles at The Street in Brockenhurst. His father was a toy maker.
The 1901 census found Herbert, aged 21, and employed as a solicitor’s clerk living with his uncle and aunt, Nowal D. Hunt and Emily Hunt at Maltese Road, Chelmsford.
A decade later 31 year-old Herbert was listed by the 1911 census lodging with Elizabeth Bull at 74 Victoria Road, Chelmsford. He was still employed as a solicitor’s clerk.
Herbert enlisted at Chelmsford.
The Essex County Chronicle of 27th October 1916 reported that he had been wounded:
“Pt. H. E. Pope, London Regt., of Chelmsford, has been wounded, a shot going through the ankle and displacing a bone. Before joining the Colours he was employed at the office of Messrs, Walter Hilliard and Ward, solicitors and was a popular member of the Chelmsford Church Institute.”
Herbert was drowned on 30th December 1917 on board the troopship S.S. Aragon when she was torpedoed by UC-349 in the Mediterranean Sea outside Alexandria harbour at around 11 a.m.. The vessel sank in twenty minutes. S.S. Aragon had arrived from Marseille laden with around 2,700 troops heading for Palestine. It had initially entered the harbour but had ordered out again as no berth was available. Some 380 men lost their lives in the sinking. Her escort, the destroyer H.M.S. Attack was torpedoed about five minutes later when rescuing survivors and sank within seven minutes.
POPE, HERBERT GEORGE,
Private, 15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles)
At the time Herbert was serving as Private 533090 (formerly 6236) in the 15th Battalion of the London Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles).
On 15th February 1918 the Essex County Chronicle reported:
“The Chelmsford Church Institute Committee on Friday passed a vote of sympathy with Mrs. Pope, mother of Cpl. H. Pope, Civil Service Rifles, who was drowned on the Aragon in the Mediterranean, Deceased was a popular and prominent member of the Institute, and had been previously seriously wounded.”
Herbert has no known grave and is commemorated on Chatby Memorial in Alexandria, Egypt and on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford. He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
His parents subsequently lived at Restormel House, Southwood Avenue, Southbourne in Hampshire.