Herbert Macklin was born in Lambeth, Surrey, on 14th August 1897, the youngest of six children to Enos and Sarah Macklin. Enos was a general labourer and, after his mother died in 1909, Herbert worked around his school as a baker’s errand boy, to bring in a little more money for his family.
After Enos passed away in 1912, and with his older sisters all having families of their own, Herbert and his older brother William did what they could to survive, getting some support from the local poor school.
The outbreak of war gave the brothers a sense of purpose, and both enlisted. William joined the Royal Field Artillery, and was sent to France in September 1915.
Herbert, being six years younger than his brother, enlisted later than his sibling. He joined the Middlesex Regiment, on 10th May 1916, and his service records show that he was 5ft 4.5ins (1.64m) tall, 126lbs (57.2kg) in weight and had a fair physical development. While Herbert had a fair physical development, he was also recorded as having flat feet, which somewhat limited his army service.
Private Macklin transferred across to the Devonshire Regiment a few months after enlisting. He was then assigned to the regiment’s Labour Corps in the summer of 1917, and remained with them for the rest of his service.
While William was serving abroad, Herbert remained on home soil for the duration. By the spring of 1918, he was working in Kent, but was admitted to hospital in Faversham, suffering from acute tonsillitis. Sadly, this was to prove too much for Private Macklin’s body to take: he suffered cardiac failure, and died on 12th April 1918. He was 21 years of age.
Herbert Macklin was laid to rest in the Borough Cemetery of the town in which he passed, Faversham.
Tragedy was to strike again for the Macklin brothers: as the war moved into its closing months, Driver William Macklin was based in Salonika, Greece. He was not to see England’s shores again, sadly: he passed away on 23rd November 1918, aged just 27 years old.