A 4th Eminson cousin

Herbert Luther Eminson was also killed in the Great War.

Eminson family

Marjorie, Mabel & Herbert in 1917; photo from David Capes


'A' Company, 8th Regiment,
2nd South African Infantry

died 19th July 1917 aged 37

Herbert was born on 7th April 1880, the son of Dr. Luther and Eliza Gertrude Eminson (nee Roberts) of Church Street, Messingham.

His brothers and sister were Robert Harold, Horace Roberts and Viola Gertrude.

He was one of the four grandsons of Dr. Robert Eminson junior who lost their life in the Great War.

Herbert was educated at the Collegiate School, Epworth and Atherstone Grammar School.  After leaving he studied mining engineering and at the age of 20 was working as a Colliery Surveyor and living at Castle Gresley, Derbyshire.

Soon afterwards he joined the Staffordshire Imperial Yeomanry as 42834 Trooper and travelled to Africa with the 38th Battalion.  His brother Horace went as 21293 Private in the 8th Battalion of that regiment.

Herbert took part in the Boer War and was awarded the Queen's South Africa medal.  He also had 6 months of service during the Zulu rebellion.  At the end of that conflict he decided to settle in South Africa and was appointed one of the surveyors of roads for the Works Department of the Government of Natal.

His parents moved to Lancashire and in 1905 Horace married Annie Charnley Cook and 1906 saw Viola marry John Ensor Denton.  The next year Robert may have married Ethel Eliza Gregory.

Herbert married Mabel Jane Thring of Thring's Post, Natal and their son was christened Ashley (Astley?) Lucien.  He died on 11th October 1907 aged just 7 months, 16 days and is buried in Umhlali Cemetery, Natal.  In 1910 they had a daughter whom they named Marjorie Doris.

By the time of the Great War, Herbert had become a citizen of South Africa and was engaged in road surveying in Zululand.  He went to Pretoria for a preliminary medical on 10th December 1915 and was enlisted into the South African Infantry at nearby Potchefstroom.  He became 5938 Private, described as 5 feet 9 and a half inches tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

Just three days later he was promoted to Sergeant and on 30th November 1916 became an officer with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

A medical report of February 1917 shows he was suffering from malaria contracted the previous June at Kondoa Irangi.  Herbert endured a few mild attacks, the last of them being at Dodoma.  As a result he went back to Congella, Durban for two months of recuperative leave.  He was anaemic, had lost about 12 pounds in weight, had a 'tender spleen' and his heart was 'slightly dilated'.  Herbert returned home to his family at Rose Villa, Umhlali and at the end of his leave was given a further month to recover.

On 1st June, as he was returning to duty, he was promoted to Lieutenant.  He would lose his life just seven weeks later. 

Dar es salaam cemetery

Lieutenant Herbert Eminson died fighting the enemy in Tanganyika, German East Africa at Besai (an unknown location).

He was buried locally but in 1926, due his grave being classified as one that was 'scattered', his remains were exhumed and re-interred at Kilwa Kivinji Cemetery.

Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery was created in 1968 and Herbert's remains were moved there during the early 1970s to ensure proper maintenance of his resting place.


His death was notified to his father, living at Selisia House, Lavenham, Suffolk, and to Mabel who was left everything in his will.

In St. Peter's churchyard the gravestone of his Aunt Maria Jane Eminson remembers her three nephews who were killed in action during the Great War.  On her stone the location of Herbert's demise is shown as ‘Marumcombe’.  The correct spelling is 'Narungombe' but this place is not mentioned in his service papers. 

Lieutenant Herbert Eminson is also remembered on the Stanger War Memorial in Natal and on the Christ's Church memorial in Bootle. 

His cousins Richard, Percy and Herbert lost their lives and are remembered on our War Memorial.


The Bootle Times reported:-



Widespread sympathy has been expressed with Dr. and Mrs L. Eminson, of Trinity Road, Bootle, in the loss of their second son, Lieut. Herbert Luther Eminson, 8th South African Infantry, who was killed in action in East Africa on July 19th.

Lieut. Eminson, who was 37 years of age, was educated at the Collegiate School, Epworth, and at Atherstone Grammar School, and subsequently became a mining engineer in Staffordshire. He came of a soldier family, and the martial spirit asserted itself when, on the outbreak of the South Africa War, he volunteered for active service with the Staffordshire Imperial Yeomanry. His younger brother also took part in the same campaign.

On the termination of the war Lieutenant Eminson decided to remain in South Africa, and obtained an appointment as surveyor of roads for the Works Department of the Government of Natal. He married a lady of English birth, who with his little daughter, is left to mourn his loss.

When the present war broke out Lieutenant Eminson was engaged in road surveying in Zululand, but at once relinquished his appointment and joined up as a private for service in the Union of South Africa or for operations against German forces in British and German East Africa. His soldierly qualities and professional ability marked him out for promotion, and in due course he was given a commission and gazetted to the South African Infantry, with which force he was serving when he met a soldier’s death.

Dr. and Mrs. Eminson have received very many messages of condolence in their bereavement, including a telegram from the King and Queen in the following terms: "The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of you son in the service of his country. Their Majesties fully sympathise with you in your sorrow."