Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Bromfield Ferrers D.S.O. ('Uncle') (1878 - 1944)
“It was getting near the time for the guns to lift, and the subaltern was keeping an eye on his watch, when Gray-Buchannan nudged him and shouted, “There goes Ferrers.” Looking up he saw Ferrers, monocle carefully adjusted and waving his sword, scrambling over the parapet 20 or 30 yards to the right; so calling to his men to follow, over he went to.”
This description of Captain (later Lt Col) E. B. Ferrers leading his company into battle at Neuve Chapelle sums up his devoted approach to his service with the regiment. Lt Col Ferrers spent his entire military career as a Cameronian and was one of its best known officers, affectionately known as ‘Uncle’ to all who served in the regiment. Ferrers enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1899, serving with the 2nd Battalion during the South African War. By the start of the First World War in 1914 he was in command of his beloved “B” Company. During the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, he was wounded almost as soon as he crossed over the British line but refused to give up and continued on to the German trenches where another hit forced him to stop. Still refusing to be carried back to safety by his men, instead he propped himself up against the German parapet for a better view and calmly lit a cigar. From his vantage point Ferrers cheerfully encouraged his men by shouting; “Go on ‘B’ Company, I am dammed proud of you.”
For his bravery and leadership at Neuve Chapelle, Ferrers received the award of the Distinguished Service Order and he was also mentioned in Dispatches. He spent the next two years recovering from his injuries in England, all the time eager to get back to his beloved regiment. In February 1917 he rejoined the 2nd Battalion but struggled to cope on active service at the front whilst dealing with the effects of his injuries. After only two months he was forced to take a more peaceful role behind the front lines.
After the war he had recovered enough to accompany the 2nd Battalion to India, Iraq and Kurdistan, during which time he was able to resume command of “B” Company. After promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1923, Ferrers commanded the 1st Battalion and was in charge when they were posted to China in 1927. He held the command of the Ceylon Defence Force from 1931 until 1935. During the Second World War he was Recruiting Officer in Brighton from 1941 until illness forced his retirement in August 1942.
In his book ‘Morale’ John Baynes speaks very highly of Ferrers describing him as a:
“Very remarkable character, he was always eccentric and had a most ready wit. At the same time he was the kindest of men, and had the very highest code of personal honour and integrity. His tactical and general military was not great, but when he came to command a battalion in the 1920s his ability to gain the devotion of the officers and men alike made him extremely successful.”
Lieutenant Colonel Ferrers died in February 1944 at the age of 66. He was unmarried, having spent his whole life entirely devoted to the regiment.