Record

Full name and title: Lance Corporal Ronald Frederic Easterbrook

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Ronald Easterbrook was born on 23 February 1870 in Lasswade near Edinburgh, to Thomas, a Londoner, and Charlotte Easterbrook. He was the third of three brothers, though several other children were born later. In 1881 the family was residing in Bellfield Cottage in Lasswade, but their father was not present. The family must have moved to south London soon afterwards, because Ronald started at Dulwich College in January 1882 together with his brother Alec, older by a year. While at Dulwich he became a keen sportsman. After leaving school in 1887, he took a job in the London Stock Exchange, becoming a "jobber" with partner David Watson. He was also a member of the London Scottish rugby team, going on to serve as Honorary Treasurer.

The 1891 Census shows Ronald, aged 21, living at Broomieknowe, Park Hill, Carshalton. His father, described as a "major of volunteers", was now a widower. Ronald's older brother, Frank, and younger brother, Thomas, as well as a young sister, Nina, shared the house with their Aunt Emily and two female servants. Ten years later, aged 31, Ronald had become a "head of household" at an apartment in Holbein House in Chelsea. He was still single, sharing with a boarder, Norman Mackinnon, and a female housekeeper, Louisa Webb. In 1905 or before, he moved to Cookham, Berkshire, and on 18 July 1909 married May Little.

On 21 November 1912 the Easterbrooks set sail on the SS Celtic from Liverpool to New York, en route to Vancouver where Ronald was to spend some years as a fruit farmer. He was in Canada when war was declared and attempted to sign up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but was refused on the grounds of age and poor eyesight. Returning to London, on 12 December 1916 Ronald signed a short service attestation, giving his trade as "motor boatman". He said he had previously served in the First Surrey Rifles for four years. He joined the Inland Water Transport division of the Royal Engineers. He was sent to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in February 1917, serving near Basra for several months before being invalided to India suffering from sandfly fever. He returned in May 1918, serving out the rest of the war there. On 12 April 1919, while on board ship to India after the Armistice, Ronald died from illness and was buried in Bombay. He was survived by his widow at Broomieknowe, Milton Road, Herne Hill.



Regiment: Royal Engineers
Unit: Inland Water Transport
Service No: WR/554397
Cause of death: Died due to illness
Rank at death: Lance Corporal
Date of death: 12/04/1919
Age at death: 49
Country of death: Iraq
Memorial or Cemetery: Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial, Face B
Locally remembered at: Dulwich College


Herne Hill Connection: Resident
Address: Broomieknowe Milton Road, Herne Hill