23RD APRIL 1918 AGE 27


Splendido, this proud inscription was chosen by Captain Boucher's mother. The word means excellent.

Boucher had an excellent war record. When war broke out he was working with the Chinese Maritime Customs Service in China. Returning home immediately to volunteer, he was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry going with them to France in September 1915. Never far from the fighting, Boucher was eventually wounded on the Somme early in September 1916 and hospitalised in England. He returned to the front early in 1917 and then was more severely wounded at Inverness Copse in August 1917 and again hospitalised in England. On recovery he was sent to Ireland and was serving there when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918. On 2 April, he was ordered from Ireland to France to join the 1st Battalion to help stem the German onslaught.

On 14 April the Somerset Light Infantry were involved in repulsing a particularly fierce German attack. Two days later, according to the citation in the London Gazette:

"This officer encouraged his men to press on through heavy machine gun fire by going ahead of them. Later, when the enemy counter-attacked under cover of heavy trench-mortar and shell fire, he dashed up to the front line and rallied some posts which were wavering, and pushed in supports and reserve Lewis guns, breaking up the counter-attack."

For this he was awarded a posthumous military cross. He was killed by machine gun fire on 23 April 1918 when supervising his men into the trenches as they relieved the Hampshire Regiment.

Henry Boucher was educated at Haileybury. Much of the information for this article has come from the Herts at War website.