Eric Lillywhite Lailey


Eric Lillywhite Lailey


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Second Lieutenant
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
7th Bn.


1914 /15 Star, British War and Victory medals


I. F. 14.



UK Memorials

St Matthew’s Church Memorial, Oxhey, Oxhey War Memorial, Watford Borough Roll of Honour

Pre War

Eric Lillywhite Lailey, born in Bushey, Herts, on 14th November 1894, son of Ernest Henry Lailey, a Civil Engineer and Leah Weeks/Wecks Lailey (nee Lillywhite). The second of four children and the only son. Eric was Baptised on 14th December 1894 at St James Church, Bushey, Herts.

1901 Census records Eric aged 6, living with his parents, sister Joan 4, and two live in Domestic Servants. Census address: “Firbank”, Staunton Park, New Bushey, Herts. His elder sister Nancy 9 was a boarder at “Corseley House” (Young Ladies School) in Groombridge, Sussex.

Eric was educated at Bedales Boarding School in Petersfield, Hampshire.

1911 Census records Eric aged 16, and still at school, at home with his parents, sisters Nancy 19, Joan 14, and Dorothy 7, and one live in Domestic Servant. Census address: “Firbank”, Pinner Road Watford, Oxley, Herts.

He attended University College London and Qualifying as a Civil Engineer.

Wartime Service

Eric was attested on 15th September 1914, at Euston Road, London, for 4 years’ service in the U.K. into the 28th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Artist Rifles) Territorial Force, he was aged 19, as Private 2700 Eric Lailey. He was discharged on 10th November 1914, as he was appointed a Commission. He was Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He landed in France in July 1915, and fort on the Western Front. He was killed in Action the following year (29th February 1916) at the age of 21 and was buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery in Belgium.

His sister Nancy carried out 6 months voluntary service work and then joined the V.A.D as a nurse from May 1915 to September 1918, serving at the Military Hospital in Newcastle on Tyne, and then the Military Hospital in Liverpool. She was awarded 2 Scarlet Efficiency Stripes and 3 Service Stripes.  

His parents moved, firstly to 34, Chalk Hill, Oxhey and later to ‘Newton’, Watford, Herts. He is commemorated on the memorial at St Matthew’s Church.

Additional Information

His father, E. Lailey, Esq. of "Newton" Watford, Herts. ordered his headstone inscription: "THE STRIFF IS O'ER THE BATTLE DONE"". The value of his effects were £7-7s-5d, Pay Owing and £5, War Gratuity, the recipient was not given. His Will left his effects to his father. Son of Ernest and Leah Lailey, of "Newton," Watford, Herts. Information provided with kind permission of Bushey First World War Commemoration Project – Please visit


Stuart Osborne
Dianne Payne -, Jonty Wild