Lieutenant Brian Edmund Douglas Warde
Lieut., B. E. D. Warde (6th Special Reserve), Attd. 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was born at Hounslow in Middlesex on the 29th of July 1894 the second son of Major Charles Aprilis Enthon Warde, 7th Dragoon Guards and 6th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, and now 2nd in command of 15th Battalion R.F., by his wife Felicia (nee Douglas) Warde of 2 Buckingham Mansions Kensington in London.
He was educated at Bilton Grange School in Rugby and at Lancing College where he won an Exhibition and was in Olds House from September 1908, moving with Mr. Ferguson to News House from September 1910, where he was appointed as a House Captain in May 1912, and was in Fields House from September 1912 until leaving in the December. In his last term he was the first Head of Fields House. He was also appointed as a Prefect in September 1912. He was a prominent member of the Shakespeare Society and won the Prize Essay for French "on more than one occasion".
He was an excellent game shot and was devoted to field sports. On the outbreak of war he was intending to go to Ceylon to work as a planter but joined the army the day war was declared.
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion Royal Fusiliers on the 15th of August 1914 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 2nd of February 1915. After training at Dover and he was stationed at Dover Castle after which he landed in France on the 29th of December 1914 with a draft of reinforcements for the 4th Battalion of his regiment.
He served with the battalion at St Eloi, at Ypres and elsewhere in Flanders.
At 1.30am on the 16th of June 1915 the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers were in position to the east of Cambridge Road Trench in preparation for an attack on Bellewarde Farm Ridge. They objective was a wood to their immediate front which had a trench guarding it. At 2.50am the artillery bombardment began and at 4.50am the two companies went forward on the left and captured the German front line without significant resistance. On the right the two remaining companies pushed through the wood to the trench on the west side of Bellewarde Lake but advanced too quickly and suffered casualties from their own artillery. Despite the gains the battalion was forced back by the weight of artillery fire from the Germans as well as gas and some short fire from their own artillery and they withdrew to a communication trench, They held this position against a number of counterattacks until ordered to retire later in the afternoon.
On that day Brian Warde was the only remaining officer of his company who remained unhurt in the initial attack. He had helped in the capture of three lines of German trenches and had fallen back to the German second line where his wounded Captain saw him quite unconcerned and leading a group of men down the trench for its defence. He jumped on to the parapet to fire on and bomb a party of the advancing enemy when he was hit in the head by a sniper. He died an hour later having not regained consciousness and was buried in the trench where he fell.
Of the 22 officers and 820 men who went into the attack 15 officers and 376 men were killed wounded or missing at the end of the day.
His Commanding Officer wrote of him:-
“He will be a great loss to us, he was always cheerful, was a very brave officer and a real good leader of men….He was sniped from the flank and killed dead.”
A brass tablet was placed in the south aisle of the school chapel in his memory in the Advent term of 1916.
He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Panels 6 and 8
By permission of John Hamblin