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Edgar Bruce

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard


Private Edgar Bruce


8761  1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment


Edgar Bruce was born in Layham, Suffolk around 1893.  He was the son of William C and Ann Bruce.  Before Edgar was born the family were living at Rands Farm, Layham where his father was the farm bailiff.  By 1901 the family had moved to Abbas Hall, Great Cornard, where his father continued to be employed as the farm bailiff.  Edgar had 8 known siblings, 4 brothers and 4 sisters.


Edgar enlisted in Sudbury and served with the Norfolk Regiment.  He served in the same battalion as Ernest Pilgrim and Robert Hockley.  Ernest is recorded as having first served in a ‘theatre of war’ in France on 22nd August 1914. This indicates that he was already serving as a regular or was a reservist before the war and was part of the British Expeditionary Force later known as ‘The Old Contemptibles’. 


‘The Old Contemptibles’ was the name proudly adopted by the men of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) who saw active service up to 22nd November 1914. Their honorary title is said to have come from orders given by Kaiser Wilhelm II on 19th August 1914: “It is my Royal and Imperial Command you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General French’s contemptible little Army’.


The 1st Battalion was part of 15th Brigade, which formed part of the 5th Division and when war was declared in August 1914 was stationed at Holywood near Belfast.  The 1st Battalion saw action at the battles of Mons (23rd August), Le Cateau (26th August), the Marne (7-10th September) and the Aisne (12th-15th September).


Edgar lost his life less than a month from first landing in France.  He was killed in action on 15th September 1914.  There is no known grave and he is remembered on La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France.  Less than two years later his older brother William lost his life serving with the Suffolk Regiment in France.


Edgar was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.


©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008