When war broke out, Herbert enlisted as an under-age recruit in Northampton. He became Private 13454 with the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. The regiment was among the first in France with the BEF in 1914, taking part in the retreat from Mons and the first battle of Ypres. They also took heavy casualties the following year in the catastrophic attacks at Aubers Ridge and Loos and endured a dreadful winter in the trenches.
Herbert was killed in action on 9 May 1915, aged 16. He is remembered with honour on Le Touret Memorial in France. Herbert is commemorated on the Bushey Memorial, at St James’ Parish Church, at St Peter’s Church in Bushey Heath and on the memorial at St Matthew’s Church, Oxhey.
His connection with Bushey is currently unknown but there were several Horwood families in the area at that time, both in Bushey and in Watford.
Having previously served in the 7th Dragoon Guards, Herbert’s father also enlisted, aged 52 years and 7 months, as a training instructor.
His older brother, John Robert also enlisted on 15 April 1914, but was subsequently released on 6 December 1915 to civil employment with Smith, Major and Stevens of Abbey Works, Weedon Road, Northampton (a hydraulic and general engineering company) before re-joining his army unit on 27 May 1916.