Herbert James Mears was the son of George and Elizabeth Ann (nee Perry) Mears and was born in Ashcott, Somerset on 10th April, 1877. His baptism is recorded in the Ashcott Parish Registers on 3rd June, 1877, page 66 Entry 527.

‘Herbert James Mears son of Elizabeth and George Mears of Ashcott, Yeoman.’

Before his marriage George was a police constable in Bristol. After Herbert’s birth the family moved to Birmingham where George continued in the police force in the Ladywood District. Herbert’s two sisters and brother were born in Birmingham; Caroline Elizabeth in 1879, Mary Rebecca in 1880, and Sydney John in 1884. On the family’s return to Ashcott in 1891, George was employed as an insurance agent with Prudential Life, and also as a part time school board officer for Ashcott.

In 1904 Herbert’s brother Sydney had emigrated to Niagara Falls, Canada, and a year later Herbert followed him sailing on the SS Lake Manitoba from Liverpool on 11th April 1905 to St John, New Brunswick. Herbert had married Amy Kate Townsend in 1903 and already had a son Norman George born in 1904. Their daughter Ida was born in 1906, and on 30th May 1907 Amy and the two children sailed from Liverpool on the SS Tunisian to join him. The family settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba where Herbert worked as a ‘machinist’, and where their third child, Thomas Oliver was born in 1911.

On 8th February, 1916 at the age of 38 Herbert enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. His Service Number was 829486.

Herbert returned to England with the 52nd Battalion, Manitoba Regiment en route to the Western Front. The Regiment formed part of the Divisional Reserve for the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917. Herbert was a Private in a bombing (hand grenade) platoon and was mortally wounded in an action on 28th June 1917, to capture Avion Trench, north-east of Vimy Ridge near the town of Avion. Herbert died the next day at the age of 40. The details of the action were recorded in the Battalion War Diaries which very rarely record any names of ‘Other Ranks’. In the attack against a machine gun post
‘One of the gun crew threw a stick bomb…this mortally wounded Private Mears’
Herbert is buried at Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

According to the Bridgwater Mercury of 19th September 1917, his parents were not informed of his death until early September.

Herbert Mears is commemorated in the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance, page 292,
Pte Mears, Herbert James 52nd Bn.
The research into Herbert Mears life has been greatly helped by information provided by Arthur Moore of Ashcott, a nephew of Herbert Mears, and Doug Mears of British Columbia who is the grandson of Herbert’s younger brother Sydney.

Herbert Mears and daughter Ida, 1916


Casualty Details










Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)

Unit Text:

52nd Bn.

Date of Death:


Service No:


Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

II. C. 27.



In Memory of
Private H J MEARS

829486, 52nd Bn., Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
who died
on 29 June 1917
Remembered with honour



Cemetery Details


Country: France
Locality: Pas de Calais
Location Information: Noeux-les-Mines is a town 6 kilometres south of Bethune on the main road to Arras. The Communal Cemetery is on the northern side of the town, on the south-east side of the road to Labourse.
Historical Information: The COMMUNAL CEMETERY at Noeux-les-Mines was used by the Commonwealth forces (in succession to the French) from June 1915 to August 1917. The earlier burials were carried out by units and field ambulances but in April 1917, the 7th Casualty Clearing Station began to use the cemetery. It contains 980 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. The EXTENSION was begun in August 1917 and used until December 1918, chiefly by the 6th and 7th Casualty Clearing Stations. It contains 304 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 12 German war graves. The Commonwealth plot and extension were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
No. of Identified Casualties: 978

Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Garlick (Great Grandson)