Eric came from a wealthy upper middle class family. His father, William, was a well-known Liverpool businessman, who was born 1844 in Keswick, Cumberland. His mother, Elizabeth Ann Gray was born in Liverpool in 1854. There were four boys and four girls, all of whom apart from Eric were born in Bootle. Eric was the youngest child. In 1901, William had already retired and Eric’s eldest brother, Charles, aged only 29, was already a commissioning agent and employer. By 1911 the family were living in West Kirby. The second eldest daughter, Agnes, aged 30,was working as a teacher of domestic science in a training school for domestic servants. Eric was away at school. The two sons still at home, James and Gray, were employed as a “shipowner’s clerk” and a “shipowner’s apprentice” – typical employments for middle class Merseysiders in the early 20th century.
Eric attended Braeside School in West Kirby and Gresham’s School in Norfolk. He emulated his father by going into commerce when he was apprenticed as a cotton broker to Messrs. S.M. Bulley and Sons of Liverpool not long before the War began.
Eric joined the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) in August 1914 and arrived in France on 24th February 1915. He probably never saw any fighting because he quickly became ill: he was admitted to Number 3 Casualty Clearing Station on 10th March 1915, suffering from jaundice and to Number 5 Casualty Clearing Station the next day. On 20th March he arrived at Number 10 Stationary Hospital in St. Omer and died four days later from cerebro-spinal meningitis – a common killer of soldiers at that time. He was buried on 26th March.
Later on, his widowed mother was living at 10 Riversdale Road, West Kirby.
Birth: 16th June 1894 in Blundellsands, Lancashire
Death: 14th March 1915 of illness in St. Omer, France
Addresses: May House, Warren Road, Blundellsands (01), 9 Devonshire Road, West Kirby
Occupation: Apprentice Cotton Broker with S.M Bulley and Son
Unit: “C” Coy. 6th Bn. The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Number and Rank: 2099, Private/Rifleman
Medals: 1915 Star, British War and Victory
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, France: Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery 1 A 69
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, FT, MC, DA, BN, Census: 01, 11