Contributed by: Paul Reed, on 2008-10-31
|Year of Birth||1896|
|Year of Death||1916|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Hove, West Sussex|
If I fall do not let things be black for you, be cheerful, & you will be living always to my memory
Eric was born in Yorkshire, the son of a parish priest. He was one of three children, the family later moving to Hove in Sussex. He had dreams of becoming a missionary in China, but when the war came he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Middlesex Regiment. He was posted to France in early 1916, and joined the 16th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (Public Schools), and served with them on the Somme front. On the eve of the Battle of the Somme he wrote to his parents saying he was about to go into the "greatest battle the British Army has ever fought". He was killed the next day, 1st July 1916, aged only 20, as he led his platoon towards the Hawthorn Ridge mine crater. Posted missing, his body was not found until November 1916 when he was buried in Hawthorn Ridge No 1 Cemetery. The family visited the grave in 1919, and his sister Irene never married; to her "no man could ever live up to the man that was my brother".