BORN HULL 1894, SCULCOATES. SON OF THOMAS HENRY ABBA (1855-1920) & THE LATE ELIZABETH JOHNSON (1860-1908), AT 9 , SPYVEE STREET, HULL. SON OF A CABINET MAKER. ONE OF SIX CHILDREN. WORKED AS A JUNIOR CLERK AND JOINED THE “HULL COMMERCIALS”. HE ENLISTED IN HULL, ON 03/09/1914. SERVED WITH THE 10TH EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT, ‘A’ COMPANY, 4TH PLATOON, IN EGYPT FROM 15/12/1915. TRANSFERRED TO FRANCE 8/03/1916. WOUNDED IN ACTION ON 25/o6/1916. HE WAS AWARDED A GOOD CONDUCT BADGE AND PROFICIENCY PAY ON 03/09/1916. HE WAS KILLED ON 03/05/1917, IN THE ATTACK ON OPPY WOOD, AGED 22. HIS DEATH WAS REPORTED IN THE HDM, ON 19/06/17. HE WAS A SINGLE MAN AND HIS ARMY EFFECTS WERE LEFT TO HIS FATHER THOMAS ABBA WHO WAS A WIDOWER.
HIS OLDER BROTHER, LANCE CORPORAL, THOMAS HENRY ABBA, 2ND YORKSHIRE HUSSARS, WAS KILLED A MONTH LATER AT ARRAS ON 09/04/1917, AGED 31.
The attack on Oppy Wood, part of the Battle of Arras, was a significant battle for the East Yorkshire Regiment and particularly for the city of Hull. All four Hull Pals battalions were involved on 3 May and all suffered heavy casualties, with 40% of those present killed or injured. 2nd Lieutenant Jack Harrison, a local teacher and rugby player with Hull FC, won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in rushing a machine gun position to protect his platoon. His body was never found.
The village of Oppy in France had been in German hands since October 1914 and was part of a formidable defensive system including trenches, dug-outs and thick barbed wire defences. During the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917, the British tried to take Oppy. The first attack was a failure. A second attack was partially successful. The third attack on 3 May, known officially as the Third Battle of the Scarpe, was again unsuccessful with significant loss of life. The troops were ordered to attack at 3.45am, rather than at dawn, and the defending Germans could easily see the line of British soldiers clearly lit by the full moon. The British continued to attack Oppy and were finally successful the following year. The City of Hull Memorial at Oppy was unveiled in 1927 and commemorates the men of the Hull Pals who were killed on 3 and 4 May 1917.