Eric Winton Funnell
Serial No. 2515
1st Battalion &1st, 5th & 14th Field Company Engineers
Eric Winton Funnell - Information
When Eric decided to join the military, he was just 18 years old and working as a clerk. He had military experience, serving in the 19th Infantry Militia and was eager to prove himself. Eric was the oldest child of butcher Frederick Funnell and his wife, Minnie.172 The Funnells were part of a large family group that resided mainly in the Cobbitty area, where Eric was born on the 30th of September 1896. He was soon joined by siblings Roseanna, Dorothy and Frederick. Sadly, Eric’s mother passed away in 1904 when she was just 28 years old.174 Frederick then relocated the family to Hornsby, where they resided at Athgarrett on Bridge Rd. When he enlisted, Eric was still living with his father. He signed up on the 10th of May 1915 in Liverpool. During training, he was posted to the 1st Battalion Reinforcements as a Private. He was then shipped out for war service onboard the HMAT Orsova, which departed Sydney on the 14th of July 1915.
Eric stepped off the ship in Suez in mid August. He was shortly mustered, leaving Alexandria to join his unit on the Gallipoli Peninsula in October. Eric joined the 1st Battalion in early November, as a blizzard was blasting the coast. This would have been the first time that many of the boys had ever seen snow, unfortunately, a new and miserable experience. Poor weather and unachieved objectives resulted in the campaign being called off, and the men started to be evacuated back to Egypt. Before he arrived in Alexandria, Eric was transferred to the 1st Field Company Engineers. In March 1916, he was transferred to the 5th Division Field Company Engineers at Serapeum. Then at Tel-el-Kebir Camp, on the 16th of March, he was promoted Lance Corporal. The following month, he was promoted Corporal at Ferry Post, and later Acting Company Quartermaster Sergeant in May. A week later, he was shipped to England onboard the SS Briton. Here, he continued his hard work, being appointed Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in August. In March 1917, he was transported to the Western Front in France. Marched out to Etaples Base, Eric reverted to the rank of Corporal, before meeting the 1st Field Company Engineers. The following month, he was transferred to the 14th FCE.
Eric spent the year working in and out of the frontlines. Unfortunately, on the 19th of October 1917, he was wounded by an artillery explosion. He was taken to the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station with a wound to his left hand. The 15th Field Ambulance then transported him to the 7th Canadian General Hospital in Etaples. Later that month, he was evacuated to England to the Kitchener Military Hospital in Brighton. Eric finished recovering at the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. In February 1918, he was attached for duty with the Training Camp at Tidworth. Here, he was appointed Acting Sergeant on the 10th of April, and then Temporary Orderly Room Sergeant on the 14th. In June, Eric was transported back to France to the FCE. However, in October, he returned to England to train with the Australia Flying Corps at Boscombe. A few weeks later, he reported sick and was admitted to hospital in Brightlingsea in November, where he remained when the war ended. In 1919, he was shifted about from depot to depot, before requesting that he be discharged in London. It was granted and he left the military in May. He started his post war life, residing at 355 Christchurch Rd in Bournemouth, Hampshire. Just before peace was broken again, Eric moved to 69 Claverton St in London by 1939.