Private Herbert Archer Sopp

Regiment:  Royal Sussex, 9th Battalion, 24th Division
Service No: G/3775
Date & place of birth: June-September 1887, Petworth
Date & place of death: 18 August 1916, Western Front    

Herbert Sopp was one of many estate workers who went to war from Petworth, but from the Flexham Park estate not the Leconfield. Before the full mechanisation of farming and forestry a large proportion of the West Sussex population worked on the great estates.

Family background

Herbert Sopp was born in Petworth, the son of William and Sarah Sopp. William was a farm bailiff. There were 3 brothers and 1 sister recorded in the 1891 census and one more sister by 1901.  In 1911 Herbert was a general worker living and working on the Flexham Park Estate.

Military career

Private Sopp enlisted in Petworth. His battalion were involved in 1916 in the battles of Delville Wood and Guillemont and the German gas attack at Wulverghem. He was awarded the Victory, British and Star medals.

Death & commemoration

Private Herbert Archer Sopp was killed in action on 18 August 1916. He is buried in the London Cemetery and extension, Longueval in the Department de la Somme, Picardie, France. For some reason Herbert’s death record was crossed out on the original Commonwealth War Graves documents; he is recorded elsewhere as being remembered on the Thiepval memorial, so there may have been some confusion of names.

Subsequent family history

Herbert married Isabel Goff. They had had 4 children by the time of Herbert’s death: William Alfred in 1910, Winifred Annie in 1911, Vera in 1912 and Dorothy in 1913. Isabel also registered a daughter Joan as being born with Herbert as father in 1918! Isabel Sopp died in Horsham in December 1953.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project