End of War in Eastbourne

End of War

Eastbourne Commemorates

Eastbourne Pals

1918 - 2018

Commemorating the centenary of the Armistice that marked the end of World War One, the project has seen volunteers research and record details of the lives of all the 1,258 men and women from Eastbourne who died during the conflict and whose names appear on the Memorial Board in the Town Hall.

Discover the stories of the men and women in Eastbourne who served in the First World War and how the ones who returned shaped the town we see today.

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Eastbourne's Soldiers

Ernest Walter Cramp

Ernest Cramp170 Whitley Road

Ernest was born in Eastbourne to council labourer Harry Cramp and his wife Eliza. He had four brothers and a sister. His brother Albert Sydney was also killed.

In 1901 the family were living in Leslie Street. He was employed as a carman for the council but by 1911 Ernest was serving in the army at Preston barracks Steyning with the Dragoon Guards.

He was killed in action near Ypres 20 October 1914, aged 27.
His parents were living at 170 Whitley Road, Eastbourne when he died.

Edgar Milton

Edgar Milton

1888 – 1914
75 Dudley Road

Edgar was born in Brighton and went to St Mary’s School, Eastbourne.
He worked for Willingdon Golf Club and enlisted in 1908 in the Royal Sussex Regiment.  Edgar was killed in action at Cuinchy on 28 December 1914, aged 26.

Just before he was killed, he sent a letter home “I could not write before to thank you because we left last Monday for the firing line, and we lost nine killed and eighteen wounded, and still I have escaped and am safe and sound. We were in the trenches up to our knees in water, and it was freezing all the time. There are over 100 men gone in Hospital with frost-bitten feet. We have been fighting between Armentieres and Lille. Things are going quite well with us. We are gaining ground every day now. We are off again tomorrow to go in the trenches. Well, Mother and Father, it is Christmas Night, and I hope that all of you at home are enjoying yourselves and sitting beside a nice fire. I cannot say that I am not happy, because I am as happy as a lark! I am sleeping in a barn now. We had a tin of bully beef and Christmas pudding today for dinner, and I enjoyed the “duff”. I received Princess Mary’s gift to-day and am sending it home to be looked after for me – that is if I am spared to come home.”

Duncan Gavin Ramsey

26 Upperton Road, Eastbourne

Duncan was born on 9th January 1893 in East Preston, Sussex.  He went to Bradfield College then Sandhurst in 1911. He was gazetted to the Royal Sussex Regiment after he left Sandhurst in 1913 and was sent to France in November 1914.

Duncan was killed in action on the night of the 18th December 1914, aged 21.

His body was recovered during an armistice on the 19th, but two British officers were taken hostage during the armistice while looking for Duncan’s body.

Cecil William Gurney

Cecil Gurney1889-1915
54 Gore Park Road

Cecil William Gurney was born in 1889 in Eastbourne. He had two brothers David Harold, and Edmund Henry and three sisters, Grace, Mercy and Violet.  He went to St Mary’s School and enlisted with the Rifle Brigade at Winchester in 1907, he had been working as a gardeners assistant.  He is described as slight build, 5 foot 3 inches tall, pale complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.

He wrote home to his parents on 23rd April 1915. “Expect you are wondering when I am going to write. Well, I did write a couple of times but could not post the letter and we had to go to the trenches at a minutes notice so I could not write. Of course you understand quite well, don’t you, that we are not masters of our own movements and are liable to be sent anywhere at any time. I am quite well, I am writing this in a field where we are bivouacked. I had a letter from Mr Mitchell and I should have liked to have kept it but I put it in my pack and I have lost everything except what I stand up in and what I had in my pockets and haversack. Well it’s the fortune of war is it not? I’m not very rich in this worlds goods, it don’t take me long to pack up. I suppose they will be sending the fresh armies out to help us soon.

What is Eastbourne looking like? I should like to have a walk up the Front now.
Don’t worry please, if you don’t hear from me for several days as it is a job to write sometimes.

Now goodbye dear father and mother, may God bless and keep you for my homecoming.
Best love

He was killed in action near Ypres on 4 May 1915, aged 24.

Harold Haggar

Harold Haggar

421 Seaside

Harold was born in Eastbourne in 1897. He had three younger brothers and two younger sisters. His brother, John was killed in France in 1916.  Harold went to St Andrew’s School, Norway and worked for Messrs Lee & Co in Fairlight Road as a grocers errand boy.

He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1912 then joined the Royal West Kent Regiment to be with one of his friends.

Sergeant James wrote to Harold’s eldest sister on 25th June 1915.
“Dear Friend,
You will excuse the liberty I am taking in writing a few lines but under the circumstances, I take it to be my duty to do so. I am very grieved to have to tell you that your brother was killed whilst sniping last night. He was one of the best men we had in our company. In fact, he was the best man in my section and a thorough soldier. Kindly express my deepest sympathy with his mother and family. I feel as if I had lost a brother. He had endeared himself to everybody, being always full of life and spirits and ready to go anywhere or do anything. The great consolation is that he died like a soldier and a man. I thought that you would like this better than the official announcement.
Believe me to remain, ever your sincere friend
George James.”

Harold was killed in action near St Eloi on 24 June 1915, aged 19.

George Thomas Relf

George Relf

4 Borough Lane

George enlisted in the navy on the 25 March 1914. His naval record describes him as 5 feet 41/2 inches tall, dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He worked as a baker.

He was officially reported missing on the 7 July 1915, Lieutenant Commander A Randall Wells wrote to George’s mother “I much regret to say that no further news of any kind has been received of your son who was reported missing after action near the Dardanelles on the 6th June 1915. So long has no elapsed that I fear there can be little hope of still being alive.”
George was killed in action between 4 and 6 June 1915, aged 20.

John Charles Saward

John Saward1 Romney Street
1885 – 1915

John worked as a Local Superintendent of an Industrial Assurance Company before enlisting with the Royal West Kent Regiment.
The Eastbourne Gazette published extracts from a letter he wrote to his wife in October 1914 “I have had some narrow escapes lately but am still safe and sound, thank God. I had to put up with long marches, little sleep, little food, big fights, drenching rain and scorching sun. On the brighter side of the picture were good-humoured comrades, brave deeds, fights won and plenty of ripe fruit. On one occasion, we marched all day and night in drenching rain and only had one hours rest in a field of mud but that made no difference. The accounts of horrible sights you read of in the papers are not a bit overdrawn. They are actual happenings every day.”

John was killed in action at Ypres on 18 April 1915, aged 33.