GARDNER, Eric Mawdsley

Second Lieutenant.

Born

1895, the son of Henry Mawdsley Gardner and Mildred Gardner of Broadlands, Ilfracombe.

Education

Blundell’s School, “Petergate”, entering at the age of 14.
September 1909 to Summer 1914.

Service

He offered himself as a recruit soon after leaving school and in October 1914 entered the Public School’s Battalion and was afterwards incorporated in the Royal Fusiliers, then stationed at Epsom. In November 1915 he was ordered to France and went at once to the trenches. He did not want to accept a commission until he had made a trial of trench warfare in the ranks. As a Private soldier he underwent many hardships during the winter of 1915-16 but in March 1916 he returned to train as a cadet at Oxford. The following July he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Somerset Light Infantry then at Crownhill in Plymouth and was selected for a course at the signalling school at Wyke Regis in Dorsetshire. In December he crossed again to France and remained with his regiment there. On the 9th April he led a successful attack.

Death

10th April 1917, aged 21.
He was killed by a shell, the 100th Blundellian to be killed in the war.

Burial/Commemoration

Bay 4, Arras Memorial.
He was buried in the field but his grave was lost in subsequent fighting so he is commemorated on Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Memorial

The Arras Memorial is in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, which is in the western part of the town of Arras.
The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917. The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. Many of these men were killed in the Arras offensive of April-May 1917. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with sculpture by Sir William Reid Dick.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Public record Office, Nationals Archives, Kew WO339/  and Medal Rolls: WO372/
“The Blundellian” June 1917 p306
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 5336
Blundell’s School Roll of Service 1914 - 1918

 

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