Herbert Frederick John Downton‘s birth was registered at Weymouth in September 1905.  His parents were Frederick James Charles Downton and Rose Elizabeth Alice Downton (nee Cottell).

Herbert had two older brothers, Alfred Vivian George and Theodore, and two younger brothers, Louis Henry and Leonard Joseph.

In 1937 Herbert married Lucy Rose Nineham at Wareham. Lucy was 28 years old. She was born in Dorset on 20th November 1908 and her birth was registered at Weymouth.

Herbert and Lucy had one son, Brian V. Downton.

In May 1944, aged 38 years, Warrant Officer Class II 5722158 Herbert Downton was serving as Company Sergeant Major in the 2nd Battalion, the Dorsetshire Regiment in India.

The 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment formed part of the 5th Infantry brigade along with the 7th Worcestershire Regiment and the 1st Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. The 5th Infantry Brigade was part the 2nd Division of the Fourteenth Army, XXXIII Corps.

Between 4th April and 22nd June 1944 the Japanese advance into India was halted at Kohima, a town 5000 feet above sea level in the Naga Hills. Kohima was an important hill station on the only road that led from the major British/Indian supply depot at Dimapur to Imphal.

The key physical feature of the Kohima area, Garrison Hill, was a long wooded spur on a high ridge west of the town. It was the scene of possibly the most bitter fighting of the whole Burma Campaign.

A small Commonwealth force held out against repeated attacks by a Japanese Division. The fiercest hand to hand fighting took place in the garden of the Deputy Commissioner's bungalow, around the tennis court, but the heaviest casualties on both sides occurred after relieving forces reached the Garrison and the Japanese were driven off the ridge, thereby re-opening the road to Imphal. No trace remains of the bungalow which was destroyed in the fighting but white concrete lines mark and preserve the historic tennis court.

Garrison Hill Battlefield – Imperial War Museum
Herbert Downton was killed in action on 1st May 1944. He is buried in joint grave 7. B. 2-3. in Kohima War Cemetery, which lies on the battle ground of Garrison Hill.

The cemetery contains 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. At the highest point in the cemetery stands the Kohima Cremation Memorial commemorating 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith.

A memorial to the 2nd Battalion, the Dorsetshire Regiment and a number of other regimental memorials have been erected within the Cemetery. Near the entrance is a memorial which bears the inscription: - "When you go home, Tell them of us and say,For your tomorrow, We gave our today."
Kohima War Cemetery – Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  Herbert Downton is also remembered in the churchyard at Melbury Osmond.  
Melbury Osmond War Memorial
At the time of Herbert’s death, his wife Lucy was living in Melbury Osmond. She and their son, Brian later moved to Stratton. Brian attended school in Stratton and Dorchester between 1945 and 1952. Mother and son moved to Sherborne in 1952. Lucy died in Somerset in October 1992.

Herbert Downton’s parents are buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Stratton. Rose Elizabeth Alice Downton died in 1957 aged 76 years. Frederick James Downton died in 1960 aged 77 years. Gravestone C192, situated just south of the chancel of St Mary's Church, shows Frederick J. and Rose E. A. Downton.
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