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Old 09-06-14, 07:19
Jill Jill is offline
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Default (10) Edward John “Jack” Umpleby, Pte G/1274, C Company 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex R

10th of the Old Boys of my school to lose his life in WW1.

Edward was born in 1898 in Hassocks, Sussex to gardener Thomas Umpleby (who had also gone to St Wilfrid’s school in Haywards Heath as a boy) and his wife Emma. By 1901 the family were at 26 Mill Green Road, Haywards Heath but by 1911 the family lived at “Royston” Western Road. 14 year old Edward was an Orchid Grower’s Clerk.

Edward enlisted at the start of the war and had achieved the rank of Lance Corporal by the time of his death; he was killed in France on 9 May 1915, aged 21 and has no known grave. As well as being commemorated on the Le Touret memorial he is also commemorated on his grandparents’ grave in St Wilfrid’s churchyard. These newspaper articles appeared about him:

Lance Corporal Edward John Umpleby of the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, elder son of Mr & Mrs T Umpleby of 24 Western Road was wounded in action at Richebourg l’Avoué on May 9th. This information was received from Lieutenant Adjutant GH Blackett de Chair. Lance Corporal Umpleby who has a brother in the Coldstream Guards, also at the Front was formerly in the employ of Messrs Charlesworth & Company, the well-known orchid firm.

Official news has now been received by Mr & Mrs Umpleby of 24 Western Road, as to the death in action at Richebourg l’Avoué on Sunday May 9th of their elder son Lance Corporal Edward John Umpleby 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, after having been reported wounded in the same action. In this sad notification the bereaved family have been the recipients of much sympathy from a large circle of friends. “Jack” as he was familiarly known, was an Old Boy of St Wilfrid’s Schools and had also studied at the Haywards Heath Evening Continuation School. He was employed for some years by Messrs Charlesworth & Co the famous orchid importers at their premises at Lyoth and when war broke out he enlisted with other friends from Haywards Heath in the county regiment. That was on September 3rd 1914. He went out with a draft to the 2nd Battalion in France on January 3rd of this year and took part in some of the fiercest fighting that was experienced. His knowledge of shooting, as a member of the Haywards Heath Rifle Club and on the club range stood him in good stead in the Army, and whilst training at Dover he distinguished himself by taking first place in the recruits shooting averages in his Company. He was awarded his stripe soon after he arrived in France. Of a keen, quiet and persevering nature, he soon became popular with those he met; and there are many who regret that a life of so much promise should have come to such an early end, he having been only in the 21st year of his age.

Sussex Agricultural Express 27 August 1915
Mr & Mrs Umpleby of Western Road, have been officially informed of the death of their elder son, Lance Corporal Edward John Umpleby, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. He fell in action at Richebourg l’Avoue. He was an old boy of St. Wilfrid’s School, and he joined the county Regiment on September 3rd, 1914, going out to France on the 3rd January this year. He was an excellent shot, his training first of all taking place at the Haywards Heath Rifle Range. He was only 21 years of age, and the deepest sympathy is felt throughout the town with his parents.

His brother Thomas was wounded the same year though thankfully survived, his parents passed details on to the local paper


The friends of Private T H Umpleby of the Coldstream Guards, son of Mr & Mrs T Umpleby of Western Road, will be interested to hear that he arrived in England on Wednesday, being taken to the Clearing Hospital, Eastleigh, Hants. To use his own phrase in a letter he is “going on a treat, except for a couple of holes in my back and a very stiff shoulder.” “This is a beautiful place,” he continued, “and we are allowed out from 2pm till 8pm. I am expecting to be in hospital in Brighton in a week’s time. I got my wound on the 8th, just as the Germans were attacking us. I left before the excitement came on, but they had a very rough journey.”

His father was paid his effects of £4 13s 8d on 15 November 1917 and a War Gratuity of £3 on 23rd July 1919.

Last edited by Jill; 19-01-15 at 18:32. Reason: effects/gratuity
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