An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Reginald Eyre BRYANT

Captain, 14th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

Born 8 March 1878,
Died 20 January 1917, aged 38 years.

Buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension,
Pas de Calais, France, Grave T.22.

He is one of 1,313 soldiers buried in this cemetery. His battalion was fighting in the front line just south of La Bassée Canal to the east of Bethune at the time of his death. He was killed in action inspecting barbed wire at night.

Reginald Eyre Bryant was born at Shotley Bridge in County Durham, one of twelve children, nine boys and three girls, of Edward Ross Bryant and Eliza Bryant. His father was a prosperous ‘Spanish Merchant’ and coal exporter, and when he was born the family home was at 19, Wentworth Place, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Reginald was nearly 12 years old when he arrived at Coatham Grammar School as a boarder in January 1890. He left in December 1891, by which time the family had moved to Corbridge in Northumberland. Reginald became a merchant’s clerk after leaving school and subsequently a partner in the family business. In 1911 he was living in the family home with his widowed father, aged 81, and an unmarried older sister, Gabrielle. He enlisted in November 1914, and was in France and Flanders from April 1915. He had been promoted lieutenant and subsequently captain by January 1916, and was wounded during the fighting on the Somme in September 1916. A brother officer wrote of him that, “His life was a model for everyone, always straight and kind, unselfish and thinking of his men – a gentleman to the core”. His father was still alive at the time of Reginald’s death in 1917.