FWW Names – E

Lieutenant Rupert William Eaton, M.C.

Regimental Number: 706459
Enlistment Date / Location / Unit: 3 January 1916 / Victoria, BC / 103rd Battalion
Birth Date / Location: 6 December 1896 / London, England (Wimbledon)
Parents: Albert William Eaton and Agnes (nee Phipps) Eaton
Occupation on Enlistment: Bank Clerk (Union Bank/Royal Bank)
Date of Death / Location: 27 September 1918 / Bourlon Wood, France
Age at Death: 21
Unit on Date of Death, or on Demobilization: 54th Battalion
Circumstances of Death: Killed in action
Cemetery or Memorial: Quarry Wood British Cemetery, Sains-les-Marquoin, France (west of Cambrai, France) Plot 2, row C, grave 11
Medals / Awards: Military Cross
Where commemorated: First World War Book of Remembrance, page 402, Memorial Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, ON; Maple Ridge Cenotaph, Maple Ridge, BC; Distinguished Service or Gallantry Awards Plaque, Memorial Peace Park, Maple Ridge, BC; The First World War Roll of Honour remembering Royal Bank and Union Bank of Canada employees who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918, Royal Bank of Canada Headquarters, Montreal, QC

Rupert William Eaton was born 6 December 1896 in London (Wimbledon), England to parents Albert William and Agnes (nee Phipps) Eaton. The family immigrated to Canada in 1913, 16 year-old Rupert was a clerk, his father Albert, a business manager.

On 3 January 1916 Rupert signed up in Victoria, BC to be a soldier in the 103rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was 19 years old, 1.6 meters (5 feet 3 inches tall), weighed 57 kilograms (125 pounds), and had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He was appointed Acting Sergeant on leaving Canada; he arrived in Liverpool in July 1916.

On 18 October 1916 Rupert was appointed Company Sergeant Major. He was transferred to the 16th Reserve Battalion in January 1917. There must have been something compelling about Rupert because he was appointed Temporary Lieutenant on 28 April 1917, received his commission on 1st July, then sent to Officers Training in July 1917. In August 1917 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion fighting in France.

Rupert was killed on 27 September 1918 at age 21 during the attack on Bourlon Wood. His body was brought back to battalion headquarters and then buried in the Quarry Wood British Cemetery.
Rupert was posthumously awarded the Military Cross on 2 December 1918, and was mentioned in The London Gazette and The Edinburgh Gazette “for conspicuous gallantry and leadership during the attack of his company on machine-gun posts in the woods, which were checking the advance of the whole battalion. He reached his objective with only four men of his platoon, the rest having become casualties on the way across the open, but disposed of the post and its occupants. He then collected some more men and made a dash for another post, capturing it with two guns and 20 prisoners.”

Rupert’s connection to Maple Ridge came through his family after his death. Rupert’s sister, Muriel Lily Eaton, married a farmer and returned soldier, Wilfred Robert White, Regimental No. A29569/429569, from Yennadon. Muriel and Wilfred named their son Rupert. Rupert’s mother and sister are both buried in the Maple Ridge Cemetery.

R Eaton’s name was added to the Cenotaph in 2000 as part of the Legion’s Millennium project.

(Updated 21-Jan-2024)

Lieutenant Rupert William Eaton, M.C., Victoria Times, 14 Nov 1918