Eric Edwin Needham


Submitted by Joan Smith

Eric was Joan's Grandfather

Eric was born 18/5/1886 in Sheffield. He was one of the 1st men to fight in WW1, his embarkation date is shown as 8/9/1914.

I have a letter asking him to report to the Depot of Notts and Derby   He lived at the time of his marriage to Ethel (nee Jackson) on Somerville Terrace (they lived two houses apart prior to marriage).  I believe immediately after marriage they lived on Upperthorpe and then eventually moved back into Eric’s old home on Somerville Terrace (could be No. 43?) where they lived until bombed out in 1941.

He was part of BEF and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Le Bassee on 20th October 1914. He was held in three camps as far as I know. His Brother Walter Needham was taken prisoner at the same time, and for a while they were in the same camp(s). They remained prisoners for the rest of the war.

He appears to have given evidence as to the mistreatment of prisoners at some trial (I have a torn bit of newspaper with just a few paragraphs about this, but no idea which newspaper it has been torn from or when the trial took place, or where).

I also have a scrap of paper torn from a newspaper that makes me think that he attended some sort of war trial after the First World War where he gave evidence re the mistreatment of prisoners, but I have no idea which paper it has been torn from.

When I was young he was a tramdriver for Sheffield Corporation and after retiring at 65, went back part time to work at Tenter Street Tram sheds cleaning trams. 

My Grandad was such a lovely man, who despite his ordeal as a PoW in WW1, signed up for WW2 even though he was too old, faked his age, but eventually was found out and “de mobbed”, he then joined the Home Guard.  His son, my Dad was 18 on 3rd June 1939 and was off to war in September 1939. 

Eric died on 24/4/1977, I’ll never stop thinking how lucky we are to have such men.








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