Corporal Edwin Eggleton
Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research, and thank you to Dr. Ashton Emery for the additional family information and newspaper articles.
Edwin was born on 7th February 1892 and baptised at the parish church of Dorking on 8th June 1892. No father is mentioned. His mother is Emma of Dene Street Gardens.
Edwin’s mother Emma married Isaac John Dudley at the Parish Church of Dorking on 8th January 1898. At the time of the marriage Isaac is living in High Street, Dorking, he is a labourer. Emma is a spinster living at 15, Cotmandene Dorking. Emma’s Father is James, a Carman.
The 1901 census shows the family living at 8 Ansell Road, Dorking. Edwin is listed as Stepson, he is nine years old. Edwin attended St. Paul’s School where he was a keen footballer and cricketer.
The 1911 census shows Edwin as a Boarder with a family in Sutton, Surrey. Emma, his mother and Stepfather Isaac are living at 54 Falkland Road Dorking.
Edwin enlisted into the Army in Wimbledon, the exact date is not known, but the Dorking Advertiser of Saturday 2nd January 1915 has a list of Old boys from St. Pauls School in Dorking who are serving with the Army. Edwin is listed here. He first enlisted into the East Surrey Regiment his number being 2818. When he died in October 1916 he was with the 21st (County of London) Battalion 1st Surrey Rifles. No 653359.
“The First Surreys were relieved on 27th July and marched south to take part in the Somme offensive. On arrival, the Battalion underwent intense training, before going into the line near High Wood on 10th September. On 15th September, as part of the Battle of Flers-Courceletts, 47th Division attacked to complete the capture of High Wood, with 142 Bde in reserve. The First Surreys moved into Mametz Wood at 6.30 to be close to the fighting line, and at noon were released to 140 Bde. At 15.30, the Battalion was ordered to capture a length of enemy held trench (the ‘Starfish Line’) that lay between 140th and 141st Bdes. All went well until the leading platoons topped the ridge east of High Wood, when they came within view of the enemy’s guns. Whole platoons were wiped out by direct hits, but the others carried on until they were able to make a determined assault on the trench. The Starfish Redoubt was carried and connection made with the remnants of 140th Bde, but the losses made it impossible to continue to take the second objective (Cough Drop). Of the 19 officers and 550 men who had gone into the attack, only 2 officers and 60 men remained, the rest being dead or wounded.
The Battalion was pulled out the following morning and marched back to collect a draft of 300 inexperienced men from the 2nd/5th East Surreys (from 67th 2nd Home Counties) Division in England). By 27th September the First Surreys were back at High Wood in reserve. On 8th October (the day Edwin died) they attacked again, in an attempt to capture ‘Diagonal Trench’ near Eaucourt l’Abbaye and the Butt de Warlencourt. The attack was meant to be a surprise after a 1 minute hurricane bombardment, but the troops could make only 2-300 yards, still some 200 yards short of the objective, before they were compelled to dig in and form a chain of outposts. The exhausted 47th Division was relieved the following day and sent to the Ypres Salient for the Winter.”
Edwin’s mother Emma lived at 14, St. Martin’s Place in Dorking in 1920 and is still there in 1945. She moved to Dorking Almshouses on the Cotmandene towards the end of her life. Emma died in Dorking General Hospital on the 21st March 1967 at the age of 96.
He had two Uncles, James and William who stayed in Dorking but had no children, he had three Aunts Jane, Elizabeth and Marion. Marion married Thomas Sivyer on 6th October 1900. In the 1911 census Marion is living in Bermondsey she has four children
Son of Mrs Emma Dudley of 14 St Martin’s Place, Dorking
Regiment 21st (County of London) Battalion. 1st Surrey Rifles
Former Regiment 2818, East Surrey Regiment
Date of Death 8th October 1916
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Cemetery Warlencourt British Cemetery, France