Private Duncan Edward Garwood

Date of Birth 6 July 1892
Age at Death 23
Date of Death 2 May 1916
Service Number 2299
Military Service 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Merton Address 15 the Ridgway, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Wimbledon Parish Church

Additional Information

Duncan was born in Wimbledon on 6 July, 1892 and baptised at St. Mary’s Church. His parents were John Garwood and his wife, Mary, who originated from the Powys region of Wales. The couple, who lived at 15 Ridgway, Wimbledon Village, also had two older children, a daughter – Hentria and a son, Oscar. John Garwood was a butler and seems to have been absent during most of Duncan’s childhood, possibly as a result of his work. The 1901 census shows that the children were in the care of their aunt, Annie Price, who worked as a nurse.

By 1911 Duncan and his siblings were together with their mother, however there was still no reference to their father at the Ridgway address. Duncan attended Wimbledon Central Elementary School, followed by Battersea Polytechnic, where he trained to become a civil engineer. His brother Oscar worked as an Accountants Clerk for a local Auctioneers and Estate Agents.

Following the outbreak of war, Duncan enlisted in the 1/5 Battalion, Easy Surrey Regiment. This was an existing territorial unit but its numbers greatly increased following a call for new recruits in August 1914. Originally quartered at Pelham Road School, the men underwent intensive training before being sent to India to protect British interests from German and Turkish forces.

Duncan embarked for active service on 17 May, 1915 and is likely to have joined the East Surrey “Terriers” in Cawnpore. The battalion was involved in defending Peshawar and Nowshera from tribal assaults in August and September 1915.

By 1916 Duncan was attached to the 2nd Norfolk Regiment, stationed in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Between 15 December 1915 and 29 April 1916, the regiment fought in the first Battle of Kut, during which an 8000 strong British-Indian garrison was besieged by the Ottoman (Turkish) Army, south of Baghdad. Eventually forced to surrender, the Norfolks and any other surviving members of the garrison were captured and later forced to march to Aleppo. Duncan was wounded during the battle and died on 2 May 1916. He is one of 420 men buried at the Kut War Cemetery and is also commemorated at Wimbledon Parish Church.


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