Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Lieutenant Colonel Eustace Robert Ambrose Shearman, 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own), was killed in action while leading his regiment in an attack near Hooge Chateau, near Ypres.
He had been commissioned into the regiment in September of 1895 and saw active service during the Boer Wars, being twice Mentioned in Despatches. He received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps (for the Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein and Johannesburg), and the King’s South Africa Medal with two clasps. He arrived on the Western Front shortly after the outbreak of the Great War.
Lieutenant Colonel Shearman assumed command of his regiment early in 1915. On the day of his death heavy shelling commented at 4 a.m., directed at the front line neld by two Cavalry brigades and the 2nd Dragoon Guards. The war diary records that “A dense pall of smoke hung over everything, houses collapsed and trenches subsided.” Lieutenant Colonel Shearer was noted as rallying his men considerably. The shelling became more severe as time went on, and at 8 a.m. the order was given for the regiment to leave all kit behind in the trenches, taking only rifles, bandoliers, bayonets and spades in order to dig themselves in. Fighting continued throughout the day, machine gun and rife fire being met by the enemy’s rife fire and shells. At 2 p.m. Lieutenant Colonel Shearer led a charge from the dug-outs across 400 yards, the diary reporting, “The enemy opened fire but never stopped to receive the charge and left their trenches”. He was killed during the charge, and was later buried in the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery near Ypres.
Two months earlier a junior officer had written: “Shearman has just got command of the Regt. The Colonel’s (Reginald Barnes) time was up on Feb 4 and he went home and stayed home. I think everyone is rather glad. Don’t repeat this. He is a charming man but awfully weak not half the man Shearman is. As a matter of fact he has commanded the Regt practically the whole time out here. And in the strikes in Africa too”.
Eustace, from Belgravia, was 39 years old and married with nine-year-old daughter.