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   Urban Eclipse Carpenter 

Private 11253
11th (Pioneer) Battalion Hampshire Regiment
Killed in Action 04/01/1917, aged 29

Buried in Loker Churchyard, Belgium (I.D.18)

Remembered on:
Ewhurst War Memorial,  Memorial Plaque and Book of Remembrance



URBAN ECLIPSE CARPENTER was born Urban Eclipse Wyvill in Notting Hill, London (1,2). His birth was registered in March of 1888 (his middle name transpired from a solar eclipse on Friday, 19th August 1887). His mother, Emily Carpenter, had been born in 1860 in Cranleigh before moving to London to become a domestic servant. By 1891 she had married John Wyvill, 28 years her senior, and was living in Kensington with her husband and daughter, Vera Lucy (b1885).  

In 1890 Urban, had moved to Kingsford in Surrey, where he lived with with his uncle and aunt, Frederick, a baker and Laura Carpenter. Urban became Frederick and Laura's foster child, and lived with his foster parents at Hazelbank Bakery, Ewhurst, between 1891 and 1901 (3). Urban had a younger brother, William Wyvill (b1891), who moved to Bramley in Surrey with Urban's mother and sister when Emily re-married William Martin (2). By 1911 Urban was working as an assistant baker for Frederick & Laura, living in The Bakers Shop, Capel, Surrey.

Urban enlisted in the army in Ewhurst (1) and became Private 11253 in the 11th (Pioneer) Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.(4) The battalion was formed in Winchester in September 1914 as a K2 battalion. It became pioneers to the 16th (Irish) Division in December 1914, which had been formed in Ireland in September 1914. The division moved to England, and barracks at Blackdown Camp, Aldershot in September of 1915 for its final training before it moved overseas to France in December 1915.


Urban arrived in Le Havre, France 19th December 1915 (4). Between January and February 1916 the 16th (Irish) Division entered the line near Hulluch and the Loos battlefield area. Here they were to remain until moving south to take part in the Battle of the Somme. Here they fought in the areas of Guillemont and Ginchy, before once again moving north to join Plumer's 2nd Army at Ypres. Here they held the line in the vicinity of Locre.

On the 4th January 1917, the battalion war diary states that the 11th were at:"DE ZON Camp, near VIERSTRAAT (Ypres Salient) south of Voormezeele. Maintenance and improvement of the line, trench mortar emplacements, construction of strong points, trenches dug etc. kept the Pioneers amply occupied."

Although the diary makes no mention of casualties on this day, it is likely that during these works Private Urban Carpenter was killed in action. Six weeks later the Surrey Advertiser included the following article (5):

The Death of Pte U E Carpenter

News has been received by Mr F Carpenter, of Ewhurst, of the death of his nephew, killed in action. The deceased was well known in Surrey as a distance runner, and was the winner of many cups and medals. The last of his notable performances was at the military sports field at Moore Park, Ireland, when he was first in the four mile, mile and half mile, and second in the quarter mile, whilst he also ran the relay for his team.

Many letters of sympathy have been received by his foster parents, with whom he had made his home since he was three years of age, all speaking of him in high terms. He was an active member of the Church of England's Men's Society. His company captain, in a letter of sympathy, says "it is a comfort to know that he did not suffer, as he was shot through the heart, and death was instantaneous. He was liked by both officers and men alike, and we can ill afford to lose him."

Surrey Advertiser Article 24th February 1917

Urban's body was laid to rest in the church yard in Loker, Belgium. He was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal (4). The Ewhurst Book of Remembrance incorrectly notes that Urban was "aged 27, killed in action near Vimy Ridge on the fourth of January, 1917"(6). 

Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals


  (1) Soldiers Died in the First World War. Born Shepherds Bush. Enlisted in Elmhurst, Surrey, presumed to be Ewhurst, residence given as Bramley, Surrey.1901 Census gives place of birth as Notting Hill.
(2) Noted as the Son of Mrs Emily Martin, of 206 Maxey Road, Plumstead, London in the Commonweath War Graves Commission records.
(3) 1901 Census, noted as Hurban Carpenter.
(4) Personal Medal Card, Public Records Office (WO 372/4 730785 / 4991)
(5) Surrey Advertiser Archives (Surrey History Centre)
(6) The CWGC Register notes Urban's age at death as being 29. His place of death was near the Messines Ridge.

Other Sources:

  • Battalion War Diary, courtesy of Royal Hampshire Regimental Museum.
  • 1861,1871,1881,1891,1901 Census

AEB 28/07/05


Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey