Herbert Charles Rossiter

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Private

Service No:           25520

Unit:                     9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

 Herbert was born in St George, Bristol in March 1883, his parents were William & Isabella Rossiter, his father was a shoemaker.  A 8 year old schoolboy in 1891 he was living with his parents & 5 siblings in 12 Bethel Road St. George, Bristol. Herbert was living with his family at 14 Hudds Hill Road in 1901 (although his given name then recorded as Robert). By 1911 his parents & 3 siblings were at 28 Seneca Street, St George Bristol. The whereabouts of Herbert at that time still to be confirmed.

The 9th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment was formed at Bristol in September 1914 as part of  K3 and came under command of 78th Brigade in 26th Division. Moved to Codford St Mary but by November 1914 was in billets in Cheltenham. Moved to Longbridge Deverill in April 1915.Landed in France 21 September 1915 and moved to Salonika in November 1915.

During the first four months of 1916 the British Salonika Force had enough spadework to last it for the rest of its life. Large amounts of barbed wire were used and a bastion about eight miles north of the city was created connecting with the Vardar marshes to the west, and the lake defences of Langaza and Beshik to the east, and so to the Gulf of Orfano and the Aegean Sea. This area was known as the 'Birdcage' on account of the quantity of wire used. The Bulgarians and Austrians also fortified the heights of the hills surrounding Salonika during the same time which had dire consequences later on. The original two Brigades eventually were reinforced by larger units until 22nd, 26th, 27th and 28th Divisions were there. If the Bulgarians had descended from their Doiran and Struma heights it would have been very difficult to ' push us into the sea', for the force was deployed to fortify an advanced defensive line.

 

The Salonika Force dug-in until the summer of 1916, by which time the international force had been reinforced and joined by Serbian, Russian and Italian units. The Bulgarian attempt at invasion of Greece in July was repulsed near Lake Doiran. At the beginning of Oct 1916, the British in co-operation with her allies on other parts of the front, began operations on the River Struma towards Serres. The campaign was successful with the capture of the Rupell Pass and advances to within a few miles of Serres.

Herbert died on 7th October 1916;  he is buried and remembered with honour at the Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Greece ; grave location A 84.

In February 1921, 560 graves were brought into Sarigol from Janes Military Cemetery, a few miles to the north, and serving the same front. The cemetery at Janes was on low ground, and, under the normal conditions of this region, it was found difficult to approach and almost impossible to maintain in good order. With a few exceptions, the burials were made from 31st Casualty Clearing Station between August 1916 and October 1918.

Image by kind permission of Commonwealth War Graves Commission.   

Herbert’s father William died in 1920 & his mother Isabella was living at 240 Church Road in the early 1920s.

Herbert was awarded The British War Medal &  The Victory Medal.


 

References 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1901 & 1911 UK census

The Long, Long Trail