Private Reginald Albert Durrant

Regiment:  Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) No 6 Company, formerly in King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Service No: 17114
Date & place of birth: April—June 1896 Dunsfold, Cranleigh
Date & place of death: 14 November 1916 Western Front 

Private Reginald Durrant was one of the soldiers moved from a position in a machine gun unit attached to the Rifle Corps to the MGC. That Corps  was specially formed in October 1915 to make more effective use of machine guns.

Family background

Reginald Durrant was born in Dunsfold, the son of Frederick and Annie Durrant. Frederick was a cowman. They had moved to New Cottages, Petworth by 1901. Frederick had 2 brothers and 2 sisters; his brother Arthur William of 24 Osborne Road Petersfield is mentioned on the Commonwealth War Graves site as the contact after Reginald’s death. Frederick died in 1901; by 1911 Reginald is living with his mother and stepfather Edwin Horton in North End Cottages, North Street, Petworth and working as a general labourer on a farm. In that census he is registered as Albert so was presumably know by his second forename.

Military career

Private Durrant originally enlisted in Petworth to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps but was transferred to the newly created Machine Gun Corps. There were separate sections for the Motor and Cavalry Branches of the MCG; Private Durrant was in the Infantry branch, by far the largest. The MCG saw action in all theatres of war; from his place of burial we know that at least in 1916 he was fighting on the Western front, probably on the Somme.

Death & commemoration

Private Reginald Albert Durrant was killed in action on 14 November 1916 aged just 20. He is buried in the Mailly Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Mallet, in the Somme region.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project