King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Eglington, Ferdinand

Second Lieutenant ▪ 5th South Staffordshire Regiment

Ferdinand ‘Ferrie’ Eglington, born on 14th March 1885, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1899. He lived with his father, Edward, a hardware manufacturer, his mother, Lucy, and his brother and sister in Hammerwich, Lichfield. His brother, Stanley, also an Old Edwardian, served with the Royal Navy at Gallipoli and survived the war although he was wounded twice.

At School, Ferdinand did well at many things: 1st XV Captain, cricket player, fives player, Senior Athletics Champion, actor, debater, Prefect and all-round good egg. In a debate on the subject, “The English are justly unpopular abroad”, Ferrie argued that, “the tone of English politics tended to make the nation unpopular…Englishmen are unjust – they objected to the cartoons in the French and German papers at the time of the Boer War, and yet they are now doing the same thing to Russia. England does all she can to remind Russia of the Crimea, taking the credit of that war from France to herself alone. British politics were inconsistent and irritating to other nations.” Ferdinand also led the 1st XV “splendidly…playing his utmost from start to finish.” As an actor, Ferdinand “ably impersonated” Jack Cade in some selected scenes from Henry VI Part 2 at Speech Day in 1904.

After School, Ferdinand went on to Trinity College, Cambridge, and formed part of the Old Edwardian rugby team, as well as playing for Lichfield and Hammerwich cricket clubs.

Immediately after the outbreak of war, Ferdinand enlisted as a Second Lieutenant in the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment. He was severely wounded on Easter Monday in 1915, receiving shrapnel to the head, and was wounded again in 1916, after which he was promoted to Captain. He was killed at Gommecourt on 2nd July 1916, aged thirty-one, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. His Commanding Officer wrote of Ferdinand: “Please accept the heartfelt sympathy of every Officer and man of this battalion in the great loss you have sustained by dear Ferrie’s death. I personally cannot possibly express my feelings…only one week ago we were a very happy party. The only consolation I can offer you is that he died bravely and very gallantly leading his men, who I know loved him, and would have followed him anywhere. He had reached the German barbed wire and was cutting same when he was struck by a bullet.”