1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

George William Eden

Contributed by: Eunice Chambers, on 2008-11-06

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Rank
First Name George William
Surname Eden
Year of Birth 1895
Year of Death 1917
Regiment East Yorkshire Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Battersea, Surrey

George William's Story

Visit to our grandfather grave at Aubigney en Artois Communial cemetery France

My sister and I went to visit our grandfather George Eden's grave several years ago. Our dear grandmother was only 19 when he went to war in 1915,she had a tiny baby,my father, also named George. Her husband was an army cyclist and was slightly wounded early in 1916,and came home on leave. The little family lived in Battersea and in November another child a girl was born. George Eden was tranferred to the East Yorkshire regiment,and went back to war. He never saw his family again,and was killed in the terrible battles for Arras he was 21 years old. By tracing his war records 20 years ago,which were some of the burnt records saved in the blitz, we were given his regimental number and place of burial. Later we found the complete set on film at the record office at Kew. My sister and I drove onto the ferry at Dover in great excitement taking with us family flowers,from his daughter and on behalf of my late father. My grandmother never forgot her young husband. We have never seen a photograph of him ,but my gran always told us,to look at my dad and you would see his father. My sister and I stayed in Arras soaking up the atmosphere,the place was almost distroyed during the terrible bombardment but has been rebuilt exactly as it was in the old style. We found the cemetery and laid flowers, almost to the day 75 years after his death on the 4th of May1917. We then decided to look for the place where he died,which was in Oppy Wood. Following the old war diaries for the East Yorkshires,we could visualise how awful it was,the men were sent out in thick mist, having no idea that the enemy were thick in the wood and picking them off at will. Oppy taken over by the enemy, was very important to both side because the area contained valuable coal mines. The battles for Arras are documented in WW1 books ,but the fight for Oppy seems to have been forgotten. But not by the folks of Kingston upon Hull. The East Yorks was a 'Pals' regiment,and although my grandfather was a Londoner were feel he was honorary Yorkshireman. There is a beautiful memorial from Hull in front of the wood itself.We were not allowed access to the wood,but laid a rose on the steps of the memorial. My sister and I were the first from our family to go to France to repay a debt and say thank you to our beloved grandad.

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