Regiment: 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers
Date & place of birth: 2 October 1888, Ballymena Northern Ireland
Date & place of death: 25 April 1915 in Belgium

Edward John McNeill Penrose was wounded early on in the war in France and convalesced at home in Petworth before returning to the front.

Family background

Edward John McNeill Penrose was born in Ballymena, the son of the Reverend John Penrose and Annie Penrose.  He appears to have been an only child though there may have been a sibling who had died by 1911.  John Penrose became the vicar at St Mary’s Petworth by 1911 and returned to take part in the inauguration of the War memorial. Edward attended Haileybury School and by 1911 had joined the Irish Fusiliers.

Military career

By 1911 Edward was a Lieutenant in the Irish Fusiliers. In August 1914 his battalion was mobilised for war,  landing at Boulogne. It fought in the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne and the Battle of Messines. In 1915 the 1st battalion fought in the battle of Ypres.

Death & commemoration

Edward was  killed in action at Ypres on 25 April 1915. It was reported in the West Sussex Gazette of 13 May 1915 that he had again been wounded and was now missing. He was mentioned in despatches  and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin gate) memorial.

Subsequent family history

Edward had not married but he did leave £275 11s 5d in his will. His father returned to Ireland and drowned trying to save a woman who had got into difficulties in the sea.


The ‘War Diary of Captain Penrose‘ was published in the Petworth Society Magazine in June 2004 and was used as the background to the fictional Lieutenant Stephen Penfold in Antony Bird’s novel ‘Before the Harvest: August 1914′ published in 2012.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project