The Battle of the Somme

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, six Old Eastbournians were killed. We pay tribute to them here with these extracts from the Roll of Honour 1914–18.

Major John Nisbet Bromilow was born in 1887, the youngest son of Henry and Editha Bromilow of Rainhill. He was a member of School House, 1900-05, and was conspicuous in all branches of sport, having his colours for rugby, swimming, running, and gymnastics as well as being a sergeant in the Cadet Force. After passing through Sandhurst he was gazetted to The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). He served for a time with the home battalion at Colchester and later in Jersey. He then joined the foreign service battalion and proceeded to India. On the outbreak of war he was home on furlough and was ordered to join the 6th (Service) Battalion of his regiment to assist in training them. He became Adjutant for a time, and was then appointed Staff Captain to the 38th Brigade, 13th Division, with which he proceeded to Gallipoli in 1915. There he was badly wounded. On recovery, after a spell of home service, he was ordered to France to take command of his Regiment’s 1st Battalion in April 1916. He was killed at Hebuterne on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Somme offensive, and is buried at Serre Road Cemetery no.1 (grave I.13.51).

Second Lieutenant Neville Dodd was born on 28 August 1884, the son of Arthur and Alice Dodd of Tulse Hill, London. He was a member of School House, 1896-1901, and won swimming and shooting colours, being the school’s representative for the Spencer Cup at Bisley in 1901. On leaving school he went into his father’s business as a diamond merchant. He joined the London Scottish in September 1914 and served as Quartermaster Sergeant until early in 1915 when he received a commission in the 1/6th Battalion, West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales Own) Regiment. He went to France in November 1915 and was Assistant Adjutant of his battalion until he was killed at Thiepval on the first day of the Somme on 1 July 1916. He is buried in Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 (grave XX.E.12). Also commemorated in St Agatha's Church, Woldingham, Surrey.

Second Lieutenant Philip Maurice Elliott was born on 28 March 1894. He was a member of Gonville, 1909-11. He enlisted in the Artists Rifles on 5 August 1914, and went to France with the 1st Battalion in October 1914. He next obtained a commission in the 3rd Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment. In the following February he was wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres and invalided home. He returned to France in December 1915, joining the 2nd Battalion, and fell in action on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He is buried at Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, Somme (grave VII.H.39).

Second Lieutenant Victor Godfrey was born on 14 December 1895, the son of Sidney and Susan Godfrey of Surbiton. He was a member of Wargrave House from May 1910 to December 1913. He joined the Artists Rifles in August 1914 with his two brothers, and they all took their commissions after a few months’ training in France. He served in France with the Second Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, and was killed on 1 July 1916, although his death was not officially reported until some months later. On the day of his death he was chosen, as an expert wiring officer, to strengthen a difficult position, but neither he nor any of his men returned. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (pier face 3C).

Major Lewis Farewell Jones was born at Hampstead on 15 May 1885, the elder son of George and Anna Farewell of Mitcham. He was a member of School House from September 1900 to July 1903, and was in the XV and a keen member of the Cadet Force. On leaving school he was articled to an architect and joined the Architectural Association, playing in its 1st football team. He also became an Associate of the Surveyors’ Institute, and was preparing to sit for the RIBA examination in 1914. Soon after starting work in London he took a commission in the 12th County of London Regiment (The Rangers) and held the rank of Captain when he was mobilised for active service in August 1914. In December 1914 he crossed to France with the 1st Battalion of his Regiment. He was severely wounded in the Second Battle of Ypres, but was back in France in October 1915 with the rank of Major. On 1 July 1916, he was reported ‘missing and believed wounded’, and afterwards ‘killed in action’ in the Battle of the Somme. He was mentioned in dispatches after his death. He is buried in the London Cemetery Extension, Longueval, Somme (joint grave 9.J.12).

Captain Leslie Dymoke Head was born on 29 February 1888, the son of Percy and Louisa Head of Eastbourne. He was at the College as a Home Boarder in 1902 and 1903. He joined the 9th Battalion, the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in September 1914, and went to France in command of ‘A’ Company in September 1915. He married Caroline Annette Hind at Marylebone in 1915. There were no children. He was killed near Fricourt on 1 July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and is buried in Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers La Boisselle, Somme (grave X.A.6).

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