Herbert Long was born in 1887 in Lymington, the son of George Long and Elizabeth (nee Doe) who had married in 1873.
In the 1881 census, George and Elizabeth (both aged 27) are living in Bridge Road, Lymington, with four children aged between 1 and 6. George is a grocer’s carman.
In the 1891 census, the family can be found living in Stanley Road, Lymington. George, now 37, is still a carman for a grocer. He has several more children ranging from 1 year to 14 years old; Herbert is 4. In total, George and Elizabeth had 11 children.
The family is still living in Stanley Road in the 1901 census, and George is still working as a grocer’s carman. Frederick (Frank) is now 19 and working as a baker; Herbert is 15 and also working as a baker. There are two more siblings: Arthur (13), and Harold (7).
In 1904, at the age of 18, Herbert enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner with the regimental number 20108. His brother Harold joined the Royal Navy in 1908 at the age of 15.
It appears that their mother Elizabeth died in 1906 aged 54, which may have been the reason why Harold enlisted so young.
In the 1911 census, Herbert is aged 25 and a Gunner in S Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery. In the same census, his younger brother Harold, now 18, is working aboard HMS Duke of Edinburgh in Gibraltar.
Herbert married Annie May Mills in Portsmouth in 1915. He was 28 years old; Annie was 19. By the end of the year they had had a son, also named Herbert James Samuel Long, who was born in Bristol.
Herbert served in France with the 13th Siege Battery, landing in France in June 1915. The Heavy Batteries of the RGA were equipped with heavy guns, sending large calibre high explosive shells in fairly flat trajectory fire. The usual armaments were 60 pounder guns. As British artillery tactics developed, the Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines.
The First Battles of the Somme took place between 21st March and 5th April 1918. During this time Herbert was wounded and died of his wounds on 27th March 1918 at the Canadian Stationary Hospital. He was 31 years old and had become Acting Bombardier. Herbert is buried at the Doullens Communal Cemetery, about 30 km north of Amiens on the road to Arras.
Herbert’s widow Annie was by then living at The Prospect Cottage, Nursling, Southampton, though the address listed in the Winchester War Register for Herbert and his brother Harold is 4, Victoria Road, Winchester.
Herbert’s younger brother, Harold, served in the Falkland Islands, Dardanelles and the Grand Fleet aboard HMS Duke of Edinburgh, Inflexible and Blenheim. He survived the war.
In 1923, Annie May Long married Herbert’s younger brother Arthur Leonard Long in Southampton, a few months after the birth of their child, Mabel, who was born in Stockbridge.
In the 1939 Register Annie’s son Herbert (aged 24) is living at the same address in Romsey/Stockbridge as his half-sister Mabel (aged about 16). Arthur Long lives at a different address in the same area, but it is not clear where Annie is.
Annie died in the Romsey area aged 76 in 1942. Her daughter Mabel died unmarried in 1955 in Romsey aged 63. Annie’s son, Herbert, married Dora Kershaw in Bournemouth in 1972; they were both aged around 57. Annie’s second husband Arthur died aged 86 in 1973.