2nd Lieutenant Rupert Edward EVERITT
299th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

Date of birth: 2nd October 1875
Date of death: 24th June 1917

Killed in action aged 41
Buried at Ferme-Olivier Cemetery, Plot II Row A Grave 9
He was born at Southsea in Hampshire on the 2nd of October 1875 the younger son of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Everitt, Royal Marine Artillery, and Alice Frances (nee Peto) Everitt of 19, Nevern Square London SW5.

He was educated at St Mary’s College, Winchester and at Winchester College from 1889 to 1894 where he won a scholarship and was a school prefect also winning the silver Medal for Latin Speech and the Duncan Prize for Reading; he also played a leading part in the Shakespeare Society. He won a classical scholarship to Worcester College Oxford earning a 2nd Class Honours degree in 1898 and a MA in 1900.

On leaving university in 1900 he worked as an assistant master at The Haugh, Packwood in Warwickshire until September 1902 when he joined the staff at Clifton College as an assistant master until April 1906. He went to work as an assistant master at the King’s School Canterbury in January 1908. While he was there he served as an officer in the Officer Training Corps and as Hon Librarian. He was a Freemason and was accepted as a member of Royal Sussex Lodge of Hospitality in Bristol on the 10th of June 1903 and was a member of the Cassidbury Lodge in Watford from the 15th of June 1907 until the 15th of January 1908. He became a member of the United Industrious Lodge in Canterbury from 1908.

On the 16th of January 1916 he enlisted as a Gunner 75930 in the Royal Garrison Artillery under the Derby scheme, leaving King's at the end of the spring term. He was mobilised on the 11th of April joining the 162nd Siege Battery on the 20th. He applied for a commission in the Royal Garrison Artillery on the 30th of June 1916 in an application which was supported by Algernon Latter, Headmaster of the King's School Canterbury. He was promoted to Bombardier on the 26th of July 1916 and went to France the following day to join the 144th Siege Battery. On the 12th of September 1916 he returned to England to attend Cadet School at St John’s Wood in London, joining on the 14th of September. On the 23rd of October 1916 he went to Trowbridge to continue his training. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery on the 10th of December 1916 and returned to France in May 1917 where he joined the 299th Siege Battery.

At approximately 10am on the 24th of June 1917 he was shaving in his billets which were at the crossroads at Elveringhe immediately behind the guns. A shell exploded 4 yards outside his billet and a piece of shrapnel came through the window hitting him in the head and killing him instantaneously. The barrage also destroyed the billets and two of the battery’s guns also killing Gunner John Hogan and wounding one other.

His Commanding Officer wrote:-

"It is with the deepest regret that I have to write about your son’s death. It happened this morning about 10am, when he was shaving. he had been up most of the night, and a splinter of a shell came though the window of the room he was in, and killed him instantaneously. We all deplore his loss. We have all been a happy and merry family, and he was one of the merriest. Always cheerful, willing to do anything and everything at a moment's notice, and never downhearted no matter what work had to be done. I lose a very capable officer and a great friend."

A brother officer wrote:-

"He was more than liked in the Battery; he was really loved and respected by us all from the C.O. to the Gunners. Even now we can hardly realize it, and I am sure that none of us will be the same again. We all benefited by his influence, and his death has left a gap in our lives which can never be filled. We were really like a happy family, and he the cheeriest and happiest of all. ....We can never forget him or, cease to regret him. He was one of the best, and we all miss him more than we can say."

Another officer wrote:-

"I personally feel his loss most keenly. I was in the same room with him at the time, and he was just preparing to shave when a shell burst about 4 yards outside our billet. A fragment of the shell bursting upwards, caught him in the head or neck and his death was absolutely instantaneous. He died a soldier's death and received a soldier's burial in a military cemetery about 4 miles N.W of Poperinghe. We were very good pals, he and I, and he was very popular with his men, especially the signaller, who were entirely under his control."

The Canturian wrote:-

"To all those who knew him as a master at the school the death of Mr Everitt comes as a severe shock. Respected for his strictness in school hours, which earned him the friendly nickname of "Crusty" out of the school he was most cheerful and pleasant companion. His readings of Shakespeare, of whose works he was always an enthusiastic admirer, and his recitations at Penny Readings, will endure as delightful memories to all who were privileged to hear them. Many are the ex "Parrots" whose recollections of pleasant hours "swapping" stamps, swimming at the baths, of playing cricket on Blore's with "Crusty" will now be tinged with sadness. As a the mess table, so in the Common Room and class room R.E. Everitt has left a gap which never can be filled."

A brass plaque was erected in his memory in the School Room at King’s but it is no longer there. The Everitt History Prize was created from a bequest from him.

He is commemorated on the war memorial at Winchester College and on the memorial at Worcester College Oxford.