HORACE CHARLES ETHERIDGE
1st/5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Who died aged 21 on 22nd April 1917
Buried in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Horace Etheridge, the son of James and Martha (née Mace), was born in Thurton in early 1895. Both his parents came from long-established Bergh Apton families and he is related to both Albert George Mace and Walter Bracey whose names are also on the Bergh Apton war memorial.
Horace Etheridge and Albert Mace were baptised together in Bergh Apton parish church on 28th July 1895.
Horace volunteered to fight and enlisted on 2nd October 1914 in the 6th (Territorial) Battalion the Norfolk Regiment. He then served in both the 1st and 3rd Battalions before transferring in February 1917 to the 1st/5th Norfolks with whom he was serving when he died.
The history of the Norfolk Regiment (F Lorain Petrie pub. Jarrold & Sons) records in some detail the disaster of the Second Battle of Gaza fought between 17th and 19th April 1917. It tells us that the 1st/5th Battalion suffered 662 casualties in an attack on the Turkish defences at Gaza on the morning of 19th April.
Horace’s entry in the Norfolk Regiment’s Casualty Book (the “Wounds Book”) records that he was wounded and evacuate to 45th Stationary Hospital at El Arish, 50 miles to the south of Gaza and died there two days later.
He was first buried near Gaza in the El Arish war cemetery close by the 45th Stationary Hospital but that was closed soon after the Armistice of 1918. The dead within it were re-interred in Al Kantara cemetery on the northern outskirts of the town now called Al Quantara on the Suez Canal.
More Family Background
At the time of the 1901 Census the family was living in the southern half of what is now Meadow View on White Heath Road (named as Thurton Road in the 1901 Census return) in Bergh Apton.
Ten years later they had moved a few hundred yards up the road to another semi-detached pair of farm cottages where Horace is listed as a 15 year-old “Cowman of farm”.
The family later moved to Caistor St Edmund and then to Rackheath where, after the was, their parents had the names of both Horace and his half-brother Albert Mace put on the war memorial in that village.
In a Bergh Apton newsletter of 1906 we found Horace listed amongst those rewarded on School Prize Day, 20th July, for perfect attendance. Other prize-winners that day were Hubert Rope, Aubrey Stone, Albert Harvey and Charles Greenacre, all of whom died in the First World War.