The First World War Roll of Honour

This article looks at biographical records of members who fell during the First World War held in the IET Archives.

The IET Archives holds within its collections Rolls of Honour with the names of members who fell fighting during both World Wars. Particularly interesting is the volume produced in 1924 after the First World War as this contains biographical details and some portraits of the 162 members who lost their lives. An index to the First World War Roll of Honour is available.

The object of the volume is to perpetuate the memory of the members of the IEE who lost their lives in the First World War of 1914-1918. It was hoped that it served as a worthy memorial to the members who made the supreme sacrifice but also as a record that would interest future generations of engineers. The volume is a result of five years’ painstaking research gathering records from all over Europe and the former British Empire.       

One of the volumes was presented to the widow of Lance-Sergeant Edgar Hoyle AMIEE and returned to the IET by their daughter on the request that it be ‘put to good use’. Every November the IET Archives displays both Rolls of Honour in the reception area of Savoy Place, London.                          Portrait of Lance-Sergeant Edgar Hoyle taken from the IET Archives WWI Roll of Honour                                                                    

Lance-Sergeant Edgar Hoyle     

Lance-Sergeant Edgar Hoyle of the Honourable Artillery Company was born in Greenhithe, Kent in 1883. He was educated at Kings College, Strand, London in 1899 and completed a three year course in electrical engineering. After his education in 1903 he entered the service of The British Insulated and Helsby Cables Ltd of Prescot. By 1906 he had been promoted to Resident Engineer and supervised the “extra high tension” distribution system for the Cleveland and Durham Electric Power Company as well as other major works on tramways and electric power distribution.

Outbreak of war

When war was declared in 1914 he relinquished his appointment to serve in the Army. His Battalion was among the first of the Territorial units to be ordered to France and he crossed the Channel on 20 September 1914. His Battalion joined the Indian Corps to help strengthen their position along the line north of Givenchy. After repeated advances the German troops succeeded in establishing their trenches only 50 yards from the line held by the Indian Corps.

In November 1914 his Battalion was transferred to the 3rd Division under the II Corps to help the embattled 1st and 2nd Divisions south of Ypres. By the end of November his Battalion took their turn on duty in the trenches. Bitter trench-warfare ensued but ceased temporarily during winter and they were put to work improving the defences. 

Final advance

By March 1915 Hoyle received a promotion and was appointed Lance-Sergeant. On 5 April 1915 Hoyle’s Division was in the line north of Kemmel. Having arrived at the point of line to be held by his Company he superintended the movement of his men into the bays. Hoyle had just begun to speak to his brother, Leonard Arthur Hoyle (AMIEE) also serving in his Battalion, when the enemy opened fire. He was hit in the chest by a rifle bullet and died moments later. Lance-Sergeant Edgar Hoyle became a Student Member of the IEE in 1902 and an Associate Member in 1910. He died aged 31 survived by his widow and their young daughter, born only a few weeks before he enlisted in the Army.