Private Edward Lawrence Sprunt
SPRUNT, Edward Lawrence. Private, number 1510, 1st Battalion Honourable Artillery Coy (Stretcher Bearer Section), 3rd s of John Dalziel Sprunt of 3 East India Avenue, London E. C. and Montgomerie, Berkhamsted by his wife Jane, dau of John Naismith. Born Hampstead, London, 28th August 1892, educated Berkhamsted school and Jesus college, Oxford, at
which latter he held an open exhibition. Having served about 9 years in the O.T.C. he was offered a
commission on the outbreak of war, but being eager to go the front as soon as
possible, and thinking he would probably be sent for months to a regimental
depot to train recruits (as his elder brother was) he enlisted as a private in
the H.A.C. and went to the front with them and served through the winter of
Later was again offered a commission and the war office instructed his Colonel to send him home, that he might take it up. After getting his discharge he went back to the Colonel and said that he had heard there was to be a battle the next day, and as he did not wish to leave on the eve of it, he asked permission to remain and see his comrades through it. The Colonel replied that as he had put it so gallantly, he could not refuse his request, and so he might remain.
That evening the battalion went up to the trenches and was under fire about 36 hours, including the fierce fight of 16th June, 1915, losing about half its numbers. On 17th June, about 2am, near Chateau Hooge, Belgium, he was helping to carry a wounded comrade on a stretcher, and had got within about 15 yards of the dressing station, when a shell came over and exploded underneath the stretcher, killing him and two others, wounding the remaining two stretcher bearers.
He was buried on the battlefield near the Ypres-Menin road and was unmarried. His commanding officer wrote "Your son had the opportunity of not going up (to the trenches) and of returning home, but refused to leave his comrades at such a time, and showed a magnificent spirit.......worthy of a man of this regiment. The circumstances were such as to lead me to specially recommend him for gallant conduct, and the enclosed card has been received from the General. I have pleasure in sending it to you, while regretting very much the circumstances which have been greatly appreciated by his comrades."
The card is of the first class, being printed in gilt letters, the ordinary card being in black letters, it reads "Third Division Expeditionary Force, 1510, Private E. L. Sprunt, Honourable Artillery Company, your commanding officer and brigade commander have informed me that you distinguished yourself by your conduct in the field on the 16th June, 1915. I have read their report with much pleasure and have brought it to the notice of higher authority." Later the Assistant Military Secretary wrote that he had been mentioned in a despatch from F.M Sir John French "For gallant and distinguished service in the field." "I am to express to you the Kings high appreciation of these services, and to add that His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgment may be of some consolation in your bereavement".
Marquis de Ruvigny' s Roll of Honour