Service number 30709
Born: June 20th 1904
Died: June 2nd 1940
Eric was born in Thakeham, Sussex, the fifth and youngest son of Hugh Richard Penfold Wyatt and his wife Grace Evelyn Reid of Findon, Sussex. He had one sister. Two of his brothers were killed in the First World War. His father owned the Cissbury Estate near Worthing and died in 1938.
He was educated at Winchester. He followed his father and two older brothers to Christ Church. Whilst up at Christ Church, he was a member of the Bullingdon and Loder's Clubs. He graduated with a 4th in jurisprudence in 1929 and was Called to the Bar of the Inner Temple in 1935.
He had joined the 2nd Battalion The Coldstream Guards and was attached to the Sudan Defence Force from 1932 - 1935. He was promoted to Captain in 1934 and was promoted to Acting Major on February 3rd 1940 by which time the regiment was in France.
He died at sea of wounds received at Dunkirk, on June 2nd 1940.
He is buried in Dover [St. James’s] Cemetery Row E. Grave 11.
He left £10,301-11-1. Probate was granted to his brother, Oliver, who was a schoolmaster, having fought in WW1. He died in 1973, unmarried.
From the WAR DIARY OF THE 2ND BATTALION COLDSTREAM GUARDS
1940 June 1
It soon became known that we were to withdraw to the beach and embark this evening.
Our supporting Artillery also knew this and they were determined to use up every round of ammunition they could lay their hands on.
The Germans now began in earnest to try and prevent our getting away.
Ugly rumours kept drifting in of German infiltration round our flanks.
The Carrier Platoon was therefore despatched to watch our Left Flank in the 3rd Brigade area by Les Moeres.
By mid-day No. 4 Company were forced to withdraw slightly from the banks of the Canal.
The whole countryside now being flooded, even if the enemy did cross he would be confined to the roads.
At about 1400 hours it appeared that the Battalion on our Right had withdrawn in the face of opposition, and No. 1 and No. 3 Companies had to form a defensive flank on their Right.
At 1600 hours we were informed that the position could be abandoned at 2200 hours, and the difficult task of getting this news to the Forward Platoons began.
At 1900 hours the Adjutant led Battalion H.Q. back to the sea.
At 2100 hours we were told that Zero Hour could be put forward to 2100 hours, and about the same time the news arrived that Major McCorquadale commanding No. 3 Company had been killed, and also 2/Lieutenant R.D.E. Speed, the remaining Officer in No. 1 Company.
Lieutenant J.M. Langley, the remaining Officer with No. 3 Company was also wounded, and only Captain Bowman the M.T.O. survived to bring out the remnants of No.s 1 and 3 Companies. No. 2 Company had up to now suffered less casualties but on the beach an unlucky German shell hit the head of this Company’s column. Several men belong to Company H.Q. were killed and Major E.T. Wyatt and Lieutenant R.T. Combe were mortally wounded. No. 4 Company which was the last out of the Line still had all its Officers and thus the Battalion reached the sea covered by the Carriers who took up a position on the Dunkirk Canal until 0200 hours, when, in accordance with his orders, Lieutenant The Earl of Devon abandoned his vehicles and immobilised them. The Battalion reached the beach a mile or two East of Dunkirk Mole about 0130 hours, and joined several of the many long queues already waiting to embark. About half were fortunate enough to get off before dawn when the Royal Navy ceased operating until the evening. Those left on shore were taken back into the sand dunes and ordered to dig in. During this day there was plenty of food, and fortunately immunity from enemy shells and bombs, though all round were remains of earlier bombardments. Shortly after 2100 hours the party was told to march down to the Mole and was soon on board H.M Destroyer “Sabre”. In the days that followed the remnants of the Battalion re-assembled at Walton, near Wakefield.”
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