Regiment: 16th Bn Royal Sussex (formerly Sussex Yeomanry)
Service No: TF/320051 (formerly 1506)
Date and place of birth: 3rd qtr 1895 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 16 November 1917 in Egypt
John Eldridge was baptised at Midhurst Parish Church on 11 August 1895 and was the third son of Alfred and Jane Agnes Eldridge. Alfred Eldridge, born in 1859 in Easebourne, was a beerhouse keeper and jobbing gardener living at The Bricklayer’s Arms, West Street, Midhurst. His wife Jane, born in 1859 in Midhurst was the daughter of John Powell, a general dealer, who lived in Wool Lane, Midhurst.
By the 1911 census, thirteen children had been born to Alfred and Jane, two of whom had died: another boy was born in 1914. The children were Agnes, Alfred, Florence, Dorothy, Ivy, May, Lilian, George, Mirtle, John, Jane, Donald, Ethel and Jack. In 1911, John Eldridge was aged 15 and working as an errand boy for a fishmonger (probably Emily Ellis in Wool Lane).
John Eldridge enlisted in Midhurst and first served in the Balkans from 7 October 1915.
The 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion was a territorial force which, in January 1917, was formed at Mersa Matruh in Egypt, from the dismounted Sussex Yeomanry of the 230th Brigade which was part of the 74th Division. The Battalion was engaged in various actions as part of the Palestinian campaign including the second and third Battles of Gaza in October 1917, the Capture of Beersheba and the Battle of Mughar Ridge on 13 November 1917, where a cavalry charge, assisted by infantry, captured two fortified villages. On 14 November an Ottoman rear-guard position was successfully attacked by mounted units and Junction Station (known as Wadi El Sara) was captured, after which the Turkish 8th Army withdrew.
John Eldridge was awarded Victory, British and 1915 Star medals.
Death and commemoration
He died on 16 November 1917 in Egypt and is buried in Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, grave D.86. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and on a headstone in Midhurst Cemetery.
Subsequent family history
The names of his brothers Alfred and Donald are listed on the Church Memorial Panels.
Kelly’s Sussex Directory (1930) records that Alfred Eldridge was a beer retailer in West Street, Midhurst.
His father, Alfred, died on 13 May 1949, aged 89 and his mother, Jane, on 10 January 1930, aged 71, both in Midhurst.