7 November (1914)…

Eric John Western Dolphin 7 November 1914 Ploegsteert Churchyard, Belgium (P. Ferguson image, September 2016)

Captain Eric John Western Dolphin
7 November 1914
Ploegsteert Churchyard, Belgium
(P. Ferguson image, September 2016)

Captain Eric John Western Dolphin
1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment

The 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment landed at Le Havre, France 23 August 1914 and fought as reinforcements at the Battles of Le Cateau (26 August 1914) and later at the Battle of the Marne (6 -1 2 September 1914), the Battle of the Aisne (13 – 28 September 1914) and the first Battle of Messines (October 1914). In November 1914 Captain Dolphin lost his life when near Ploegsteert, Belgium the enemy, possibly in an act of false surrender, shouted out “Don’t shoot!”

Captain Dolphin was the son of Lieutenant Colonel H.E. Dolphin, Royal Artillery (Retired) and his wife (name unknown) of Oak Lodge, Guilford. Their son Eric, age 28 is buried at Ploegsteert Churchyard, grave A.4. Dolphin, following his years of school at Stubbington and R.M.C. Sandhurst, served with his regiment since 1906. Ploegsteert Churchyard is the site of 9 Great War burials in a single row with a short rectangular hedge and iron and stone gateway. The burials date from October 1914 to February 1915 including six soldiers from the Hampshires, one from the 11th Hussars and three Canadians.

Eric John Western Dolphin (Imperial War Museum)

Eric John Western Dolphin
(Imperial War Museum)

My visit to Ploegsteert was memorable as I rode on a bicycle to the churchyard from Ypres (Ieper) a distance of 15 Km. I had been some while prior as one of the Canadian graves belonged to Thomas Sutton a Chilliwack soldier that I had researched. Sometime afterward I became interested in a second soldier at the churchyard, Lieutenant Herbert Beaumont Boggs. Both soldiers died 26 February 1915 and are the first fatalities of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (1st B.C. Regiment). On this second, perhaps third visit, I chose to photograph all the headstones on site as well as the memorial to Belgium troops from the town.

This Day
7 November 1914
752 Fatalities
Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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