CHESHIRE, Eric Corveroy

Lieutenant, Eric Corveroy CHESHIRE
Aged 21

4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
formerly 3173, Private, 2nd Battalion, London Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 3rd May 1917

Eric Corveroy CHESHIRE was born in 29th August 1895 at Grove Road, Epsom (Epsom Q3-1895 2a:25) son of Edward James and Kate Marian CHESHIRE(née WILES). They celebrated their diamond wedding on 3rd September 1952 at 6 Hamlin Crescent, Pinner, Middlesex. Eric's middle name has been seen as Corderoy and Corveroy

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at "Coniston", Burden Lane, Cheam with his father Edward James CHESHIRE [33] a life assurance clerk born Stockwell, his mother Kate M [29] born Cobham; sister Muriel [3] born Epsom; aunt Harris? CHESHIRE [27] born Sutton.

1911 census...He is entered at two locations
Aged 15, he was recorded as a pupil at the East Anglian School for Boys in Bury St Edmunds.
Aged 15, no occupation, he was recorded at "Coniston" Burden Lane, Belmont, Surrey.
His family were still at Burden Lane; father, mother, sisters Muriel , Margaret [4] and Dorothy [8 months] both born in Belmont; brother Kenneth [9] born in Belmont. These are all on the statement of living relatives completed by his father in 1918 and living at Foxley Road, Kenley, Surrey.

From the "East Anglian Record" it appears he was in Form IV at Christmas 1913. Army documents from 1923 have his father moved from 37 Woodcote Valley Road, Purley to Broadmead, Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Kent

He enlisted in the London Regiment in 2nd Battalion on 22nd October 1914. he gave his age as 19 years 2 months, was 5 feet 9 inches (175.3 cm)tall, chest 33.5" to 35.5" (85.1 to 90.2 cm). On 23rd December that year he went to join the Malta Expeditionary Force.
Commissioned into 14th Battalion on 9th February 1915. On his documents at that time his date of birth was stated as 29th August 1895, his civilian occupation was scientific fruit growing. He was educated at East Anglian School and Wisley Horticultural College.
On 11th March 1916 near Ypres, just recovering from a period of influenza, he was knocked down by a shell and was sent home on HMHS "Cambia" from Boulogne to Dover on 17th March for a nervous breakdown, suffering from insomnia, headaches and nightmares.
He was sent to Bedford for training as a recruiting officer. After suffering from shell shock, a medical board at Croydon Military Hospital Croydon passed him fit for light duties after disability leave granted in March 1916. He was much improved and headaches had lessened since he started to wear glasses. He was still not to be sent to the BEF until after another medical board. On 31st March 1917 he ceased his duties as Assistant Recruiting Officer and returned to his unit. He had seemingly recovered from wounds/illness

History of the Royal Fusiliers by H.C.O'Neill OBE :-
"4th Battalion had attacked from a line about 1,000 yards east of Monchy, and had reached positions 100 yards east of the Bois des Aubepines. The men followed the barrage closely; but the 1st German line had apparently been missed, and heavy loss was experienced there. A hostile counter-attack from the east and north-east was beaten off, but a second counter-attack got round the flanks of the 13th King's Liverpools and 4th Royal Fusiliers. The two leading waves, with all the officers casualties, were cut off ; but the remainder of the battalion held their ground till nightfall, when, with only one officer left, they retired to the original position. It had been impossible to maintain communication with the front line. Runners were almost invariably shot down, and one who got through took five hours to make the journey. The battalion on this day had 299 casualties, including 11 officers.

CWGC figures show 102 of the 4th Battalion killed, only 5 have an identified grave.

Requests had been made of the International Red Cross via the Crown Princess of Sweden as to whether he may have been taken by the Germans, but nothing was found. Then information was received from 54848 R.Thornton, 11 Conv Camp, Buchy, nr Rouen on 25th September 1917:-
"4th Royal Fusiliers "Z" Coy Lieut. E C CHESHIRE - missing 3.5.17.
Beyond Monchy, on May 3rd during an attack, I saw him get killed, it was just as we were crossing a small ridge. I was 10 yards behind him. The ridge was being swept by and no-one got over it. I saw him get hit and fall. He fell on his face and lay still. I got into a shell hole from which I saw him several times during the day and he had not moved up to the time I was relieved, it was impossible to bring in the dead. I had known him a week but I am quite sure of him, he was with us all the day before we went over. It was just dawn when he fell but light enough for me to be quite sure. Lieut. Cheshire got further in the charge than any of us."

photo: Rodney Gibson

Eric Cheshire is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, bay 3

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details