Gilbert Davison Pitt Eykyn

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Gilbert Davison Pitt Eykyn
Announcement Date: October 15, 2018

Gilbert Davison Pitt Eykyn was born at the France Lynch parsonage in Gloucestershire on the 22nd August 1881. He was baptised on the 29th September 1881. He was the only son of the late Reverend Pitt Eykyn. His father at the time of his death was Chaplain at Parel Bombay. Gilbert married Emily Constance on the 28th November 1902 and a son, Duncan Arthur, was born on the 11th August. The 1911 census shows that Duncan was born Poona in India. At some point after the family returned to England they moved to Northallerton in North Yorkshire.

Gilbert was a career soldier. He was also a gifted linguist, having passed Army exams in Russian, French and Hindustani. He received his first commission with the 3rd Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in 1899. He then joined the 4th Manchester Battalion in May 1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 24th December 1901. He joined the Royal Scots on the 4th February 1905 attaining the rank of Captain on the 26th June 1913. On the 13th February 1913 he was appointed adjutant to the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in Northallerton. During his military career he had served in India and saw action in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902).

Gilbert was with the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment when they arrived in France just prior to the 2nd Ypres offensive. He was killed leading his men in the storming of St Julien on the 24th April 1915. He was 34 years old. Gilbert has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

In a letter to his wife his Colonel wrote: ‘You remember he trained the Battalion, and the General has personally thanked us for our behaviour at a critical moment. His is our credit.’

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • William Bowman

    Not much is known about the service of Sergeant William Bowman of the Yorkshire Regiment. However, Stuart Hodgson a volunteer at the Green Howards Museum noticed something slightly unusual when he came across a photograph of William. The second button on his tunic is covered in black material. There is a good deal of evidence which suggests that some soldiers who had lost relatives during the war started wearing a black button on their tunic, or sometimes a button wrapped in black crepe. This was probably an un-official practice and a blind eye was turned. However, evidence in an Eastern Command Order (1593) of August 1918 states: “Mourning wearing of, by Non-Commissioned Officers and men. The practice by Non-Commissioned Officers and men of covering the second button of the service dress jacket with black material as a symbol of mourning is irregular and will cease forthwith. (War Office Letter No. 54/ Gen No./3025 (QMG 7) dated 19th July 1918)” We do not know who was being mourned, but it appears that William Bowman survived the Great War.  

  • Warwick McCartney

    Submitted by Wendy Patch I am the granddaughter of the much celebrated Harry Patch, who is famous, for the most part because he survived the First World War. But I often think of my other grandfather, or great grandfather to be precise, who didn’t survive and of his wife, who was left a widow with five young children, my grandmother amongst them. His name was Warwick McCartney and he was a deserter. Who knows why, fear, no doubt but surely just as much a reluctance to leave his wife and young family. He was caught, taken to Scotland to be as far from his family as possible (he was a Londoner) to discourage absconding. I know my great grandmother travelled up to Scotland by train to see him and that she knew when he was passing through London on his way to the front, so she went to the station hoping to see him as he passed through. Needless to say she was unsuccessful. He was put in the front lines, as I understand deserters often were and was killed, leaving his wife to manage on her own as best she could. [Warwick’s] wife was called Caroline (maiden name Farmer) and she actually had seven children when he died, my grandmother Annie, Warwick (known as Wally), Nell, Carrie, Harry boy, Bobby and Georgie. The two little boys were in hospital, we think with diphtheria and when the policeman came to the door to tell her that her husband had been…

  • Herbert John Friend

    Researched by John Mills Herbert was born on the 16th June 1885 in India. He was baptised on the 8th July 1885 at St John’s Church in Meerut. He was the son of George Friend, a Lance Corporal in the Kings Own Scottish Borders. Nothing is known about Herbert’s childhood and early life. In fact the next that is known about Herbert is that he is a soldier with the Yorkshire Regiment. His service number, 9970, would indicate that he joined around December 1911 and was in the 2nd Battalion. He had been stationed at The Curragh at some point and while there he met his future wife Nora who lived nearby on the Harrison Estate in County Kildare. They were married on the 21st January 1916 while Herbert was home on leave from France. He attained the rank of Corporal on the 31st October 1914 and by October 1916 was a CSM. Herbert would survive the war and by 1919 he was part of the Expeditionary force sent to the Archangel area of Russia to assist the White Russians against the Bolsheviks. This campaign is well documented for the severe conditions and brutality. By September 1919 he was on his way home but in a poor state of health. Herbert and Nora settled in Reading and had two children, George and Enid. On the 14th January 1924 Herbert left the service’ He was given a presentation clock, the inscription reading ‘A token of esteem from members of the Mess…