BOMBARDIER THOMAS EUGENE HUNTER
ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
30TH AUGUST 1916 AGE 30
BURIED: PERONNE ROAD CEMETERY, MARICOURT, FRANCE
Thomas Hunter's inscription comes from a verse that Laurence Binyon wrote specially for Sir Edward Elgar's choral work Spirit of England (1917), his requiem for the war dead based on three of Binyon's poems: Fourth of August, For the Fallen and To Women. The verse is similar to one in For the Fallen:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
This is the specially written verse:
They fought, they were terrible, nought could tame them,
Hunger nor legions, nor shattering cannonade.
They laughed, they sang their melodies of England,
They fell open-eyed and unafraid.
Thomas Hunter was a soldier before the First World War. In the 1911 census he is serving with R Battery Royal Horse Artillery in Meerut, India. However, I think he had left the army and was on the reserve when the war broke out. He served with 113th Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, which went to France on 12 June 1916. This was two weeks after he'd married Beatrice Alice King in St Paul's Gloucester. He was killed three months later.
From the burial evidence, it looks as though Hunter's gun received a direct hit. He and four members of the 113th were buried at map reference 62c.A.14.b.5.4., their graves discovered, registered, exhumed and reburied in February 1920.