2nd Lt. Erasmus Darwin

2nd Lt. Erasmus Darwin

Male 1881 - 1915  (33 years)

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  • Name Erasmus Darwin 
    Prefix 2nd Lt. 
    Born 7 Dec 1881 
    Gender Male 
    Career The only son of Horace Darwin FRS, who was the Chairman of the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Co. His mother, Emma Cecilia, was the only daughter of Thomas Henry, 1st Lord Farrer. He was the Grandson of the famous Charles Darwin. Born 7 Dec 1881 and educated at Horris Hill and Marlborough where he gained an Exhibition for Mathematics to Trinity College, Cambridge. On leaving Cambridge he went through the shops at Messrs Mather and Platts at Manchester. After this he worked for some little while with the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Co of which he was a Director. He then became assistant secretary at Bolckow and Vaughan and Co Ltd, Iron and Steel, Middlesbrough. Here he stayed for seven years and at the outbreak of the War occupied the position of Secretary to the Company. He lived during this time at Saltburn by Sea, N Yorks. As soon as War broke out he joined the Army and was gazetted on 12 September 1914 as an Officer in the 4th Yorks Battn.
    Just before he left England, he was summoned to the War Office and offered a Staff appointment at home in connection with munitions of War, which work would have given great scope to his capabilities. "It would have been interesting and important work" he wrote, "but, of course, there are plenty of older men who can do it just as well as I can." Someone present at his interview said that he made a fine appeal to be allowed to go with his men. 
    Military Service 1914-1915 
    4th Yorkshire batallion, killed in the battle of St Julien on the advance to Fortuin.
    Darwin family letters say: "The Royal Irish Fusiliers recovered his body along with that of Captain Nancarrow and the two were buried together with a little cross over it by a farmhouse near St Julien." However this grave must have been destroyed in the years of subsequent fighting and he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
    Commanding Officer, Colonel Bell wrote of him: "Loyalty, courage and devotion to duty, he had them all.....He died in an attack which gained many compliments to the Battn. He was right in front. It was a man's death."
    Cpl Wearmouth, who was in his platoon, wrote: "I am a section leader in his platoon and when we got the order to advance he proved himself a hero. He nursed us men; in fact his comment 'You would say we were on a field day'. We had got to within twenty yards of our halting place when he turned to our Platoon to say something. As he turned he fell and I am sure he never spoke. As soon as I could I went to him but he was beyond human aid. Our Platoon sadly miss him as he could not do enough for us and we are all extremely sorry for you in your great loss."
    Private Wood wrote to a friend in Middlesbrough: "I expect you would know poor Mr Darwin....I was in his platoon and I can tell you he died a hero. He led us absolutely regardless of the bullets from the German Maxim guns and snipers that whistled all round him". 
    Died 24 Apr 1915  Ypres, Belgium Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I13691  Simpson & Elder
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2013 

    Father Sir Horace Darwin, JP KBE FRS,   b. 13 May 1851, Down House Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Sep 1928  (Age 77 years) 
    Mother Emma Cecilia Farrer, later Lady Ida Darwin,   b. 1854,   d. 1946  (Age 92 years) 
    Family ID F821  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    2nd Lt. Erasmus Darwin
    2nd Lt. Erasmus Darwin


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