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Second Lieutenant Robert E Hopper

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 30th May 1917

The raid on the German lines, in which Second Lieutenant Robert E Hopper, son of Mr and Mrs Hopper, of Hartlepool, who was up to joining the Army in the Harrogate Borough Surveyor's office, and previous to that at Marshall and Snelgrove's, was notable for a very plucky attempt at rescue, as the following letter received by Mr Hopper shows : 

Dear Mr Hopper, By the time this letter reaches you, you will have heard from the War Office that your boy is wounded and missing. He was lea dining a raiding party on the German lines on the early morning of April 29th. The raid failed owing to some of the barbed wire not being cut. As far as can be made out they got through the first two belts of it, and were stopped by the third belt. At the same moment a man was badly shot and shouted out, which gave away the raid. The Bosch at once opened a very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, and your son, amongst others, fell badly wounded in the stomach. Two of the men attempted to carry him back; the first man was hit at once, the second made three attempts, and got him on the back each time, and each time was hit himself, and was finally compelled to leave him. The same man, Hewitt by name, after having his wounds dressed, wanted to go out again and make another attempt. I tell you this just to show you how popular your son was with everyone, and what a good officer hw was. He is a great loss to the battalion, and you have all our sympathy in your uncertainty. "No Man's Land" was thoroughly searched by telescope that day and by patrols the next night, but no race of him cold be found. It was quite certain that he was dangerously wounded, and that the Germans took him out of their wire. More than that I cannot say, and I am afraid it will not give you very much comfort. However, on these occasions, and in the dark, too, men are always excited, and are apt to exaggerate, and you son may not have been so badly hit as is reported. Should I be able at any time to find out anything more I will let you know at once. With kind regards and sincere sympathy, believe me, yours sincerely, A M Boyall, Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding - West Yorkshire Regiment.

Second Lieutenant Hopper joined up in September, 1914, and worked his way up from Private to Sergeant in the 1/5th West Yorks, and was subsequently given a commission in the 1st Yorks Regiment. He was twice wounded and gassed prior to the incident mentioned above. He came home on two months' leave, then went to the recruiting office at Sunderland, and back to the Front in March this year.

 

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