Eadon, George Edmund. Died 1st Jul 1916

Based on the CWGC record, G E Eadon served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, with the rank of Private, and the number 13066.

This was most probably George Edmund Eadon who was born at Napton on the Hill, Warwickshire in about 1872, and baptised there on 29 September 1872.

In 1891, George was a ‘brickyard labourer’ in Napton, living with the family at Butt Hill; his father was a labourer. His marriage was registered in Q3, 1894 in Southam, and his wife, Clara, née Chater, Eadon, had also been born at Napton, and was two years younger than him. Their first three children were all born in Napton, and by 1901, the family had recently moved to 104 Lower Street, Hillmorton, where George was a general labourer. They moved back to Napton, where their fourth child was born in about 1904. In 1911 they were living at The Poplars, Napton On Hill, Rugby and George was working as a ‘Brick & Tile Maker’. They now had four children: George Edmund Eadon, 15, – baptised on 9 June 1895 – working as a ‘Brick and Tile Maker Labourer’; Annie Louisa Emily Eadon, 13, who was in ‘Service’; Helena Mary Eadon, 12; and Percy Alfred Eadon, 7.

George enlisted into the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Private, No.13066. The exact date of his enlistment is not known, as no Service Record survives, but his number suggests that it was soon after war was declared.

The Pension Records for his son do survive. George [junior] also enlisted in the Warwickshire Regiment, probably soon after his father, at Rugby, on 19 September 1914, as No:7780 changed to No:13675. However, he was discharged after 75 days on 2 December 1914 under Paragraph 392 of King’s Regulations 1912, Clause (iii) c. ‘Not being likely to become an efficient soldier’ and being considered ‘unfit for service’. He may have been [just] under age.

 George [senior’s] 1st Battalion had arrived back from India in early January 1913 and were initially based at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. On 8 August 1914, amid fears of a German invasion of the East coast, they were sent by train to Yorkshire. Almost immediately this fear was seen to be unfounded and they were sent back to join other units of the 10th Brigade, 4th Division of the BEF at Southampton. There they boarded the SS Caledonian on 22 August 1914 and landed at Boulogne in France the following day.

George would have undergone training in UK, and did not arrive in France until 27 December 1915. The 1st Warwickshires had been involved in the Battle of Bellewaarde, at the end of the 1st Battle of Ypres, much earlier that year on 24-25 May 1915.   They were not involved in any major actions until the Battle of Albert, at the opening of the Battle of the Somme between 1-13 July 1916.

 The account below of the likely final days of George’s service is edited from The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment:[1]

The British attack on July 1, 1916, extended from Gommecourt to Maricourt, where the French Sixth Army, which lay astride the Somme, was to take it up. At the north of the British line was the Seventh Corps, and next it on the south was the Eighth Corps, under General Hunter-Weston, which included the 48th and 4th Divisions, with the four Warwickshire Territorial battalions in the 143rd Brigade, and the 1st Royal Warwickshire in the 10th Brigade. Its line faced Serre and Beaumont Hamel. East from Albert, in the Fifteenth Corps, the 7th Division with the 2nd Royal Warwickshire lay before Mametz. The enterprise in each region had its special character, and in effect there were two independent actions, one in the north, which failed, and the other in the south, which succeeded.

In the last week of June there was an intense bombardment of the German lines, whilst the 1st Royal Warwickshire … held the whole trenches of their division from June 19 to 26. Twice during that time poison gas was launched against the enemy; but owing to a change of wind the gas blew back over our own trenches and caused some casualties to our own men. … In the Royal Warwickshire the casualties during this week were heavy – 6 officers and 200 other ranks. Consequently when the day came the battalion, was very weak.

Further south the 10th Brigade had moved forward at nine o’clock, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Seaforth Highlanders leading with the Royal Warwickshire and Royal Irish Fusiliers in support. The Royal Warwickshire advanced as far as the Tenderloin trench, where they remained throughout the morning in an exposed position. Early in the afternoon a party under Lieut. R. R. Waters made a gallant attempt to seize a German strong point, but were met with such intense machine-gun fire from Beaumont Hamel that they were forced to return. At evening it was clear that the attack in this quarter had failed, and the troops were recalled to their own trenches. The tale of their casualties is the best proof of their heroism. In the 1st Battalion the casualties were 61 other ranks; … In the northern region the 5th and 7th Royal Warwickshire remained in the front trenches till July 4, and the 1st Battalion was not withdrawn till three days later. Shortly afterwards the 4th Division was moved to Ypres, and it was over two months before it returned to the Somme.

 George was ‘Killed in Action’ aged about 43, sometime during the attack on the 1 July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

His body was recovered and he is buried in Grave Reference: I. D. 83. in the Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, probably fairly close to where he was in action.

 Colincamps is a village about 16 kilometres north of Albert. Sucrerie Military Cemetery is about 3 kilometres south-east of the village on the north side of the road from Mailly-Maillet to Puisieux. The cemetery is on the left; along a 400 metres dirt track. The cemetery was begun by French troops in the early summer of 1915, and extended to the West by British units from July in that year until, with intervals, December 1918. It was called at first the 10th Brigade Cemetery. Until the German retreat in March 1917, it was never more than a 1.6 kilometres from the front line; and from the end of March 1918 to the following August, it was under fire.

George was awarded the 1915 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The claim for his medals was submitted ‘… by Miss Irwin on behalf of Mrs G Eadon in respect of the late Pve. G E Eadon. 5/4/19.’ ‘The Lodge, Southam, Warwickshire.’

 George is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates; he is also named on the war memorial at Napton on the Hill.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

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This article on George Edmund Eadon was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, June 2016.

[1]       Edited from: Charles Lethbridge Kingsford, The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Formerly the Sixth Foot) 1674 to 1920, pp.148-158, Chapter XX, The Great War: The Battle Of The Somme, 1916, at http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/8768-royal-warwickshire-regiment/

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