Capt. Herbert Percy Meakin. 3rd Bn Coldstream Guards, Att Guards Trench Mortar Battery
Herbert Percy Meakin was born in Poona, Maharashtra, India on 10 January 1891 the son of Henry George Meakin, a brewer, and his wife Alice. His father died in 1895 while in Australia.
Meakin was privately educated before going up to Queen's College, Oxford. While a student, his mother now a widow, lived in Belgravia Mansions, Hanover Square. She died in 1912.
After graduation, a bachelor, George lived at 'The Shrubbery', Barkham, Kent.
Meakin was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards on 2 October 1914 and promoted substantive Lieutenant on the day he was killed, although he was already a T/Captain. He probably joined the 1st Guards Trench Mortar Battery on its formation in May 1916 and from then on it supported 1st Guards Brigade which included his original battalion, 3rd Bn. Coldstreams.
The Guards Division had taken severe casualties in front of Lesboeufs on 15 September.
When they went in again on the 25th, General Pereira's 1st Brigade led on the right, parallel to the road. Good progress was made and Lesboeufs was taken at last.
Captain Meakin appears in the casualty list and a letter to his sister dated May 1917 said he was buried under a "durable wooden cross" at a point 40 yards NW of the Guichy - Lesboeufs Road.
After his death probate was given to his sister, Aileen Dorothy Meakin, spinster, of 25 Rue du Lycée, Pau, Basses Pyrenees, France who was also listed by CWGC as his next of kin. It seems that their parents had died before the War.
After the War Meakin's grave could not be found and so land was bought on behalf of his family and the memorial was built in his memory at the approximate position of the original grave.
The memorial consists of a stone obelisk mounted on a stepped plinth and a concrete base. It was originally protected by iron railings which in the 1990s were damaged, fell into disrepair and removed.
The obelisk is inscribed:
IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF CAPT HERBERT PERCY MEAKIN 3RD COLDSTREAM GUARDS ATT 1ST GUARDS MACHINE GUN COMPANY WHO FELL IN ACTION DURING THE ATTACK ON LESBOEUFS SEPTEMBER 25 1916. NEVER FORGOTTEN
The inscription is incorrect with regarding the Machine Gun Corps. The text on the plinth is now indecipherable.
In 1991 the memorial was still in fair condition but there was no evidence of any right of access across the 50 metres of cultivated field to reach it. A photographic record shows the railings complete in 1991, badly damaged (apparently by farm vehicles) in 1992 and totally destroyed by 1994. More recently initiatives have been taken to restore this private memorial.
Killed in action 25 September 1916.
Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, (Index No MR.21)
Memorial Guardian: L'Office Culturel d'Albert.
IMAGE: Stone column in a field on the road between Ginchy and Lesboeus