Lt H W Windeler, 4/Grenadier Guards.
Killed in Action 27 November 1917.
No known Grave. Remembered on the Cambrai Memorial
Memorial: A stone column in the Wood on S side of the footpath from Fontaine to Bourlon.
Guardian: The Compte de Francqueville.
Herbert Windeler's mother Laura was American and his parents spent much of their time in Boston, Massachuesetts, whilst also maintaining a home at Haslemere in Surrey. Born in 1997, Herbert Wheelwright Windeler was educated at his father's old school, Marlborough College, (1911-14) where he played in the three quarters for the rugby First XV and was said by his Captain "Always gets his man but sometimes fails to find touch with his kicks." After leaving school in December 1914 he lived for a year in the United States.
He returned to volunteer taking a commission in the fourth battalion of the Grenadier Guards and fought with them throughout 1917. The morning of 27 November found the Grenadiers in the main street of Fontaine but a strong German counter attack pushed them back into Bourlon Wood. In the confused fighting which took the life of Lt Charles Hartley (qv), Lt Windeler also fell - about three quarters of a mile away in the wood. He was killed by a sniper hidden in a tree and his batman buried him in a shallow grave.
After the War his parents searched in vain for the body, even offering a reward, but finally had to admit defeat. They asked the landowner, the Compte de Francqueville, to erect a memorial on their behalf and this memorial duly stands on the spot where Windeler is thought to have fallen in the shattered wood.
Every year until the next war Windeler's parents and sister came over from the Bahamas to call on the Compte and visit the memorial but nothing has been heard of the family since 1945. Sadly, the Compte de Francqueville died in Dachau concentration camp after two years imprisonment in January 1945.
'A LA GLOIRE DE DIEU ET A LA MEMOIRE DU LIEUTENANT H. W. WINDELER DU 4th BATALLION DES GRENADIERS GUARDS TOMBE LE 27 NOVEMBRE 1917 BOURLON N'OUBLIE PAS 10 Juillet 1983'.
The original fence and garden surrounding the stone cross no longer exist but the memorial remains in sound condition and it survives thanks to the care and interest of two generations of the de Francqueville family. The memorial stands under a yew tree planted when the memorial was erected, just off the public footpath which runs from the village of Bourlon through the Wood to Fontaine-Notre-Dome. Visitors are asked to respect the private land on either side of the path.
There is a memorial to Herbert in St Mary's Church Long Ditton, which reads "In loving memory of Herbert Wheelwright Windeler Lieut. Grenadier Guards. Only son of George Herbert & Laura Windeler born Boston Mass. U.S.A. Aug 18 1897 killed Bourlon Wood near Cambrai, Nov. 27. 1917 aged 20 years. "He played the man.""