The report of the death of Sec. Lieut. Norman Hughes, M.C., from wounds received in action on August 2nd, has been recieved with deep regret by all who knew him. He enlisted in 1914, and served through the Gallipoli and Palestine campaigns, where he displayed exceptional military abilities, and obtained his commission. He was also awarded the Military Cross last year for gallantly defending an outpost against the Turks. This summer saw the removal of his regiment to another battle front, and naturally the boys expected leave after their long absence from home, but many of them were immediately sent up the line, and Lieut. Hughes was severely wounded on the 1st of August. The sad news has caused deep sorrow, not only to his relatives, but to all his comrades in arms, who felt the influence of his gentle but bright and kindly character, and expressions of appreciation and sympathy are heard on all sides.
Born in 1894, to John and Sarah Wilson Hughes, of Liverpool Rd., Neston, Cheshire, John Norman Hughes served in the First World War as a Private, Lance-Corporal, and eventually Second Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment’s 4th (later 1/4th) Battalion.
Judging by the recorded history of the 4th Battalion during the First World War, and assuming uninterrupted participation on Hughes’ part, he would have left Britain in 1915 for Gallipoli and taken part in the Suvla Bay landings of the same year. Following this the battalion returned briefly to Britain, before returning East, to Egypt, in December.
The 4th Battalion spent the next two years fighting Ottoman-Turk forces around Gaza and Jerusalem, until it left the 159th Infantry Division, redeploying in France on the Western Front as part of the 102nd Infantry Division, and becoming involved in the ongoing German Spring Offensives and following Allied Hundred Days Offensive.
John Norman Hughes is listed as having Died of Wounds at the age of 24 on 2nd August, 1918. His wounding took place the day before, on Augst 1st, when his unit was involved in the Capture Of Beugneux Ridge, during the Second Battle of the Marne (15th July – 6th August, 1918). The Second Battle of the Marne was the final major German offensive of the First World War which culminated in a relentless Allied counter attack, marking the beginning of the end of the conflict.
John Norman Hughes is buried at the Senlis French National Cemetery.
Other than being mentioned in the excerpt above, I have been unable to find official documentation of the awarding of Hughes’ Military Cross.
I did, however, find that he was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross on 18th February, 1918. At this point in the war, the 4th Battalion would have been stationed in Egypt.
From August 1916 onwards, soldiers awarded the Military Cross were enabled to use M.C. following their name, with Bars denoting further acts of gallantry that were seen to once again merit the award.
Gazette Issue 30997, from 5th November, 1918, details Hughes’ actions:
Bar to M.C.
His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of a Bar to the Military Cross in recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field. He led his men to the attack with amazing dash and initiative. When his own and then another company commander was wounded, he took charge of the two companies and controlled them with great ability until he was seriously wounded. His example of leadership inspired all ranks.
He was mentioned once more in the Gazette, two days later (and 3 months after his death) on 7th November, commended for his Distinguished Service.