Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Captain Humphrey Nisbet Swann, 2nd Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment, died of wounds received at Bray-sur-Somme in France.
The son of a schoolmaster at Malvern College, he was educated at Rugby School and went on to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1911. He was commissioned into the Lincolnshire Regiment just over a year later.
At the outbreak of the Great War his battalion was recalled from Bermuda, and arrived on the Western Front in November, 1914. In February of 1915 Captain Swann was seconded for service in the Divisional Cyclist Company, and a year later was promoted to the rank of captain and Mentioned in Despatches. In February of 1917 he became the Director of Army Accounts and Quartermaster General at Corps Headquarters.
After his death, his batman wrote to Captain Swann’s parents that he was so loved that there were tears when he left the Divisional Cyclist Company, and many men broke down when they heard of his death; in the five years that the batman knew him, he had never heard a word spoken against Captain Swann.
An old friend wrote: “It was the boy in the man that was his greatest charm. Yet a manlier man never lived. One could not imagine a mean or petty thought entering his mind. None every heard him use a word of unkind criticism – his feelings were too tender and his heart too great for anything that was small. Affection and sympathy guided his every action”.
Captain Swann is buried in the Bray Military Cemetery in France. He is commemorated in the Priory Church of St. Mary and St. Michael in Malvern, and a window in the All Saints Church, the Wyche, was dedicated to him at the time of the Armistice.
Humphrey, from Malvern in Worcestershire, was 24 years old.