No. 9257, Private, Eric WOOLLARD
Aged 21

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday 13th October, 1915

Born in Woodditton in Q4-1894 [Newmarket 3b:489], baptised in Woodditton on 28th October 1894, the 3rd son of Henry and Ellen Mary WOOLLARD (née NUNN) of Ditton Green, Woodditton.

1901 census...At 7 Eleanor Terrace, Exning were Eric [6] , his father Henry [31] Agr Labourer born Woodditton, mother Ellen [32] born Woodditton, brothers Robert [9], Cyril [7], and Harry [5] all born in Woodditton, and sisters Doris [3] and Millicent [1] both born in Exning.

1911 census...They were all still at 7 Eleanor Terrace, father Henry was now a machine oiler at the cement works and all the boys were labourers. Two more sister had [6] and been born, Edith [6] and Ena [2] both born in Exning

He seems to have been known as "Dick" to his Army comrades.

The Newmarket Journal of 30th October 1915 reported :-

A GALLANT BOMB THROWER -Mrs H.Woollard of Burwell Road, has received aletter from Private R.Wilson, B Co.,7th Suffolk Regt.,expressing deep sympathy in the death of her son, Private Dick Woollard, "who fell gallantly doing his duty in a charge on October 13th. He killed no less than twenty Germans before he was killed...He was a Coy.,bomb thrower, and was bomb throwing at the time..he was buried with the highest military honours. No man can die a nobler death than a man that lays down his life for his country". Pte.Wilson (an Exning man and old chum of the deceased) adds that Private Woollard is greatly missed by the boys of B Coy., who send their deepest sympathy".

The 7th Battalion on the 13th October 1915 took part in the Action of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, capturing Gun Trench and the south western face of the Hulluch Quarries.They took over in front of the Quarries from the 1st Guards Brigade on 12th October. At 2pm on 13th, the 7th Suffolks, after an intensive barrage, launched an attack, on a front of about a mile on the Quarries. The battalion objective was two trenches known as the Hairpin, running from the British (the old German) front line to that of the enemy, about 250 yards. At the British end they were seperated from the frontline by bombing saps from 15 to 50 yards apart. "B" Coy advanced across the open under cover of smoke, but when this lifted they came under very heavy machine gun fire and the objective was not reached (they sustained 75 casualties).
Meanwhile "A" Coy.,headed by a bombing party from the 7th Suffolks and 7th Norfolks attacked up the left arm, and "D" Coy., attacked up the right. Gradually although now cut off from HQ they forced their way up to the edge of the Quarries but the increasing opposition of the enemy prevented any further advance. A trench was dug linking the two arms, thus completing the "Hairpin". The postion was now consolidated to be handed over later to the 9th Essex.
This day the 7th Suffolks suffered 51 killed, none have identified graves, all are named on the Loos Memorial. During this period at Loos, 117 officers and 3237 men of the Division were killed or wounded.

Private William Howlett of the same battalion was also killed on this day and is named on the Loos Memorial

Eric's entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:
Woollard, E.   Private in the 7th Suffolks
Eric Woollard, who was killed on October 13th, 1915, was twenty-one years of age when he met his death, and had enlisted on August 14th, 1914, at the very commencement of the war. Before joining up he had worked at the Cement Factory, and used to play football for Exning and was also an excellent boxer.
Private Wilson, of the Brickfields, wrote to his parents, and we give the following extract from his letter:
" He fell while gallantly doing his duty on October 13th. He was in a charge, and he himself killed no fewer than twenty Germans before he was killed himself. Being a very great chum of his, I miss him very much. Poor old Dick was company bomb -thrower, and was bomb throwing at the time. He is greatly missed by the Company and all who knew him. I was his chum both at home and ever since we enlisted, being the son of Mrs. Wilson, of Exning. He was buried with the highest military honours: no man can die a nobler death than the man who lays down his life for his country. He is gone, but not forgotten."

©Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Eric is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France..Ref: panels 37-38

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