Private Henry James Pledge

 Regiment:   4th Battalion Royal Sussex
Service No:  TF/200802 (formerly 4/2938)
Date and place of birth:  1st  qtr 1898 in Heyshott, Sussex
Date and place of death:  6 November 1917

Family background

Henry James Pledge was the eldest son of Harry (Henry) James Pledge and Elizabeth Jane Pledge, nee Mordle, who had married in Midhurst, Sussex, in 1892.

In 1911 the family was living at 1 West Street, Midhurst. Harry, a bricklayer, born in Wisborough Green in 1874 and Elizabeth, born in Midhurst in 1873, had eleven children: Rose (17), Georgina (15), Dorothy (14), Henry James (12), George (11), Elizabeth (9), Albert (7), Ernest (5),  Mildred (3) and Gerald (1). By this time their eldest daughter Eva (20) had left home.

Military service

Henry James Pledge enlisted in Horsham.

The 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment was based in Horsham and attached to the Home Counties Division and moved to Cambridge as part of the 160th  Brigade of the 53rd (Welsh) Division. By July 1915, they had embarked on a journey to the Mediterranean via Mudros and landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipolli on 9 August.

By December 1915, they were evacuated to Egypt because there had been huge numbers of casualties from injuries, disease and a dreadful blizzard in the November. The Division had been reduced to 162 officers and 2,428 men which was about 15% of their full complement.

The early part of 1916 saw them training and reconstituting the Battalion to a full fighting force, once more. In 1916, they took part in the Battle of Romani on 4 and 5 August.  From there, the Division took part in the Palestinian Campaign and the Capture and Defence of Jerusalem. During 1917 they were involved in the First Battle of Gaza  (26 and 27 March), the Second Battle of Gaza (17 to 19 April) and the Third Battle of Gaza (27 October to 7 November).

Henry Pledge was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death and commemoration

He was killed in action on 6 November 1917. He is buried in Jerusalem, Israel and commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial, Panels 26 and 27.  He is also commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial and Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Subsequent family history

Three men surnamed Pledge are listed on the Memorial Panels in the church: George, Harry and James.  None of them are shown as deceased. No military records have been found for George or James. It is assumed that the names Harry and James refer to Henry James Pledge.

Rosa Pledge married Ernest Hatlee in 1912/13.  Dorothy Pledge married Reginald C Howard in 1915/16, both in the Midhurst district.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project