Earle, Michael (1913-1937)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who have lost their lives in the service of their country, 1919-1939 and 1946 to date.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Michael Earle (1913-1937), born 30 June 1913, son of John B. Earle, Kitt Hill House, Sherborne, Dorset.
Attended Bilton Grange Preparatory School, Rugby.
Attended Sherborne School (day boy and The Green), May 1927-July 1930.
Attended Woolwich: prize cadetship; under officer; Roberts Memorial Prize; XV and Athletics team.
Lieutenant (1936), Royal Artillery, attached 2nd (Derajaj) Mountain Battery.
Killed in action on 9 April 1937 at the Shahur Tangi, Waziristan, N.W. Provinces, India.
Sherborne School: Book of Remembrance; no.43 Memorial Pew in the School Chapel.
The Shirburnian, June 1937:
LIEUTENANT, MICHAEL EARLE (c, 1927-30). Born 30th June, 1913; killed in action, 9th April 1937.
“The Regiment deeply mourn the loss of Lieutenant Michael Earle, killed in action at the Shahur Tangi, Waziristan, on April 9th, 1937.
Educated at Sherborne, he entered “the Shop” in February, 1932, where he had a brilliant record as a cadet. He was Under Officer, a triple “rep” – rugger, athletics and swimming – winner of the prize for Physical Efficiency, and Roberts Memorial prizeman for his year.
It was with the efforts of such cadets as Michael Earle, and one or two other outstanding men of that time, that the late Major-General Wagstaffe’s regime at “the Shop” reached its zenith, and attained to that pitch of responsive discipline, at which he, as Commandant, had always aimed, and at last felt assured.
On finishing at Larkhill in 1933, Michael Earle joined the 13th Light Battery, 5th Light Brigade (which became the 113th Field Battery, 33rd Field Brigade in October 1935) at Bulford, where he settled down to regimental soldiering with a zest and aptitude which showed promise of a most distinguished career. In the autumn of 1936, on being posted to the 22nd Mountain Brigade, he proceeded to India, joining the 2nd (Derajat) (F.F.) Mountain Battery at Razmak and accompanying them to the North-West Frontier where he welcomed the chance of active service in which he so soon gave his life.
Not only will he be mourned by his own contemporaries, who had felt his influence and enjoyed his comradeship, but also by the more senior officers of the regiment who recognized in him a young officer in whom they felt that the highest traditions of the Regiment were in safe keeping for yet another generation. He represented all that was best in England’s young manhood.
To his parents and family the officers of the Regiment offer their deepest sympathy in their great loss.”
Brigadier-General C.A.L. Graham, The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery (1957):
On this particular morning the Scouts had not reconnoitred the Shahur Tangi, and at 0745 hours, when the head of the column was well clear of the defile and most of the convoy was inside it, intense and accurate fire was opened by the enemy along its whole length. There was ample concealment for direct and enfilade fire at very short range, and the petrol tank of the leading lorry was set on fire, blocking the road and preventing movement by the armoured cars. The escort, who bravely tried to climb out of the gorge to engage the enemy, were shot down. Scouts and light tanks were rushed from Sarwekai (eleven miles) and cleared some of the obstructions during the evening, and the 2/1 1th Sikhs arrived to restore communication with Jandola. The survivors were taken to Sarwekai; Major A. Paton, M.C., on his way to join 2nd (Derajat) Battery, who was in command of the convoy and had been wounded in the first burst of enemy fire, re-formed the convoy at Sarwekai to move to Wana the following morning.
The casualties were very heavy; 7 British officers killed, including Lieutenant M. Earle, 2nd (Derajat) Battery, and 5 wounded; 2 V.C.Os. wounded; 40 other ranks, drivers, etc., killed and 43 wounded. Major Paton was awarded the D.S.O. for gallant behaviour.