1894 - 1917
WILSON NEWENHAM EVE was born in 1894 in Great Waltham, the son of David and Eliza Ann Eve (née Cockerton). He was baptised in the Parish Church on the 7th October 1894.
His parents were married on the 20th June 1885 in the Parish Church, Great Waltham. Eliza was a Servant and David was a Labourer. Both David and Eliza probably knew each other since childhood as their families were neighbours living in Broads Green.
Wilson was one of five children and the eldest son. He had three elder sisters, although his sister Edith May only lived about three years and died before he was born. His younger brother Geoffrey also died when he was two years old in 1902.
In 1901 the family were living at Broads Green, Great Waltham. David was an Ordinary Agricultural Labourer, Wilson was 6 years old and probably attending the village school.
In the 1911 Census, Wilson, now aged 16 years, was living with his parents and employed as a Farm Labourer at Broads Green.
Wilson enlisted in the Territorial Force 5th Battalion of the Essex (Transport) Regiment as a Private, Regimental number 3768 around the summer of 1915. The 1/5th Battalion became a unit of the 54th Division, 161st Brigade and in August 1915 landed in Gallipoli and fought there until November when the Battalion was evacuated and sailed to Alexandria, Egypt. The Brigade came involved with the Senussi Campaign and when relieved from duty in March 1916, moved into the No. 1 (Southern) Section of the Suez Canal defences. In April they moved northwards to counter a Turkish thrust at the Canal resulting in the Battle of Romani.
Wilson’s Regimental number was renumbered in June/July 1917 to 251040.
In mid January 1917 the division assembled for the opening of the Palestine Campaign. It took the whole of February for the Brigade to cross the Sinai Desert in stages.
The first battle of Gaza, 26-27 March 1917, was an unsuccessful British attack on Gaza, designed to clear the way for an invasion of Palestine later in 1917. The key defensive position at Gaza was the Ali Muntar ridge, east of the town. This would be the target of the British infantry attack. Behind it Gaza was protected by a maze of thick cactus hedges.
The British plan came close to success. During the morning of 26th March the British cavalry screen was established, and by noon the 53rd division was engaged on the Ali Muntar ridge.
On the morning of 27 March, the two British infantry divisions were formed up back to back on two of the ridges south of Gaza. An attempt to recapture Ali Muntar ridge briefly held the top of the ridge before a Turkish counterattack drove the British back. That evening the British pulled back to the Wadi Ghuzze, five miles south west of Gaza.
Towards the end of the day the Essex Brigade was ordered to take Green Hill. Despite heavy fighting the attack was a complete success and the brigade held the whole position by nightfall. However, confusion set in, and 53rd Division withdrew during the night. The men of 161st Brigade were enraged by the order to withdraw. The following day patrols showed that the Turks had not reoccupied the position; 1/7th Bn was sent up to support the patrols, but a violent Turkish counter-attack finished the battle. The battalion's casualties at Green Hill were 228, of whom 68 were missing after the fighting withdrawal.
Death and Memorial
Wilson died from wounds received in the First Battle of Gaza on the 26th March 1917 aged 22 years old.
He is buried in Gaza Cemetery,
Block II. Row G. Grave 4
Wilson is also remembered on the War Memorial in Great Waltham
David, his father was his next of kin and he received the total sum of £5.110s. 4d on the 15th September 1917 with a further War Gratuity payment on the 13th October 1919 of £7.10s.
Wilson was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal.
MEDAL CARD WILSON EVE
Wilson’s two first cousins, brothers Frederick and Percy Eve were also killed in action. Frederick on the 26th April 1915 and Percy on the 26th April 1916.