LEDBURY historian, Jenny Harrison has unearthed poignant facts about a young local reporter who set his pen aside to fight in the First World War, only to die in an air raid behind Allied lines.

And his death took place exactly a century ago this week.

Mrs Harrison, who is well-known locally for compiling comprehensive Memorial Books for the Parish Church, giving details of the fallen, as well as organising exhibitions to mark the centenary of the First World War, has now discovered a great deal about Archibald Hamblin, of New Street.

He was only 24 when he was killed in Flanders, on Thursday September 9, 1917.

She said: "He was described at the time as a cheery little soul. He was killed by an incendiary bomb, behind the lines. Before the war, he was a reporter."

Mrs Harrison added: "Archibald Hamblin was born in Ledbury in 1893, the son of Thomas and Barbara Hamblin. The family lived in New Street and Thomas was a bootmaker.

"Archibald Hamblin was a reporter on the Ledbury Guardian and Herefordshire Advertiser, the Ledbury Reporter and Farmer’s Gazette and lastly for the Hereford Journal. He enlisted in Hereford, and was posted to The King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was later transferred to the 83rd Company, Labour Corps. Archibald Hamblin died in Flanders, and is buried in Ridgewood Military Cemetery

"Ridge Wood was the name given to a wood standing on high ground between the Kemmel road and Dickebusch Lake. The cemetery lies in a hollow on the western side of the ridge and the position was chosen for a front line cemetery as early as May 1915. The cemetery contains 619 Commonwealth burials of the First World War."

A contemporary report, unearthed by Mrs Harrison, was carried by the Ledbury Guardian & Herefordshire Advertiser, on Saturday September 22.

It reads: "We deeply regret to record the fact that Pte A Hamblin, The King’s Liverpool Regiment was killed in an air raid behind British lines in France on Saturday September 9.

"Private Hamblin was the third son of Mr and Mrs T C Hamblin, and two older brothers are also serving. He was a man of short stature and was twice rejected on this account, but on being called up for a third examination, was passed for labour abroad and in due course joined up. He was 24 years of age, and on leaving school in 1902, went to the “Ledbury Reporter” office where he stayed for two years, and then went to the “Ledbury Guardian” where he remained a few years, and on leaving there joined the editorial staff of the “Hereford Journal” where he was engaged up to the time he joined up."

The report concludes: " He was a cheery little soul, popular wherever he went, and his many friends will hear with deep regret at his passing. His parents have received enumerable messages of sympathy in their bereavement."

Mrs Harrison is currently planning for another exhibition in Ledbury, to mark the centenary of the First World War, and 1917 in particular. This will take place in November.