Rank: Private 31812 later 60855
Regiment or Ship: 34th Bn Royal Fusiliers later 101st Company Labour Corps
Service Number(s): 31812 Royal Fusiliers + 60855 Labour Corps
Occupation: Bricklayer’s Labourer
Date of Birth: 1880
Place of Birth: Catsfield, Sussex
Date of Death: 13.05.1918
Place of Death: Rouen, France Place of Burial / Memorials:
Block P, Plot 11 Row I Grave 11A St Sever Cemetery, Extension Rouen, France. The personal inscription reads ‘Gone but not forgotten’. Also mentioned on the Bexhill War Memorial, St Mary Magdalene War Memorial and All Saints, Sidley War Memorial.
Address: 14 North Road, Sidley
Photos and newspaper articles
Father: James 1850-1915
Mary Jane 1874-1939
Annie Louise 1878-1954
Frances Elizabeth 1885-1966
Edwin Charles 1887-1914 W0122 WAITE Edwin (Private)
Mabel Alice 1890-1972
Brother in law: John Albert Nichols W0097 NICHOLS John (Driver)
Brother of John Nichols: Frank Victor Nichols W0096 NICHOLS Frank (Private)
Brother in law: Charles Henry Britt W0073 BRITT Charles (Driver)
Brother in law: Nelson James Britt W0074 BRITT Nelson James (Ordinary Seaman)
Brother in law: George Edward Veness W0119 VENESS George (Driver)
First World War Experience
Bexhill Observer June 1918
Official news has been received of the death of Private Eldred Waite, of the Labour Corps, in hospital at Rouen. Private Waite was the elder son of the late Mr James Waite, and of Mrs Waite, of 14, North Road, Sidley, and was a single man, 38 years of age. He had been in France two years and was home on leave just before Christmas. His younger brother, Private Edwin Waite, was killed at Ypres.
The Sister-in-Charge at Rouen, writing of Private Eldred Waite, says he was severely gassed and passed away peacefully. She adds “He will be buried in the English cemetery at Rouen with our splendid men. Everything possible was done for him, and he was so good and brave”.
‘No Labour, No Battle’ by John Starling and Ivor Lee page 148
One of the most devastating attacks on a Labour Corps company occurred on the night of 11/12 May 1918. On that night 101 Company was burying cables at Fonquevillers when the area was attacked with both high explosive and gas shells from 7.30 pm until 2.30 am. Initial reports suggested that no men were killed during the attack, although IV Corps Diary refers to 40 officers and possibly 1,400 men being gassed. Among those gassed were three officers (Major R. M. Christie, 2nd Lt W. Bates and 2nd Lt E P. Hazell) and 286 other ranks of 101 Company.
On 12 May 60309 Private H. Chitty was the first of 101 Company to die as a result of the gas. Sixteen more men including 2nd Lt Bates were to die on 13 May and a further 37 including Major Christie on 14 May. Further members of 101 Company, including 2nd Lt Hazell, died of the effects of the gas over the next fifteen days so that by 29 May 1918 all three officers and 134 other ranks had died. Within five days of the gas attack the remnants of 101 Company were employed on road-work at Orville and on 18 May received 200 replacements.
Most of the men killed in this attack are buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. It is not known how many of the remaining 150 other ranks may have later died as a result of the gassing.
With acknowledgements to Diana Nichols