Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
797 2nd Lieutenant Eric Newman Haggar, DCM - Sarsfield Killed in Action 20 March 1917
Eric’s parents, Matthew and Isabella married in 1889 and they were amongst the original purchasers in the Sarsfield village sale in 1893. This is where they raised their seven sons Roy, Clarence, William, Eric, Harold, Owen and Archibald. Clarence, William, Eric and Harold all served in the First World War with Owen and Roy serving in World War Two. Eric was a 22-year-old carpenter and very active in the Bairnsdale district sporting community particularly on the football field. On 26 March 1915, after having spent five years as a corporal with the Light Horse unit in Bairnsdale, Eric Haggar was one of the first to step out and enlist, joining the colours when the call to arms came. On 28 April, just four weeks later, he was promoted to Sergeant.  On 8 May 1915 he sailed on the Euripides and was promoted to Acting Corporal Sergeant Major on 5 August and embarked for Gallipoli three weeks later at the end of the month. Just days later on 4 September he was admitted to No. 1 Australian Stationery Hospital at Lemnos and then on 16 September to the 16 th  Stationery Hospital when he received a piece of shrapnel through the groin. Once fit again he embarked for Alexandria and returned to his unit in France before he transferred from the 24 th  Battalion to the 21 st  Battalion when promoted “in the field” to Temporary 2 nd  Lieutenant on 18 October 1916. He distinguished himself at this difficult time by his actions and on 13 November 1916 he was mentioned in General Haig’s dispatches for “distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty.” Conditions were extreme and Haggar, predictably, developed trench foot the same month. He was admitted to 2 nd  Red Cross Hospital in Rouen for treatment that refused to heal until January the following year ultimately requiring treatment at Havre in England. He resumed duties in France on 19 January 1917 and was present when Private Wightman was killed on a night raid. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 5 February and returned to the trenches. He had a promising future, was well regarded as an officer and popular with his comrades when he was killed in heavy action on 20 March 1917. It was later noted at the enquiry into his death it was impossible to confirm his death with other officers of the 21 st  Battalion as it is impossible to obtain the information required from the few remaining officers, as they are only comparatively recent arrivals, inferring that casualties had been high. Just one week before his death, his mother received a copy of the extract from the London Gazette relating to his conspicuous service, for marked ability as a subordinate leader during operations. He has shown pluck, endurance and zeal, and has proved himself [a] most valuable NCO. The honour conferred was a Distinguished Conduct Medal. When news of his death reached the community at Sarsfield it cast a gloom over the district. He had been the first from Sarsfield to enlist and was well regarded by the district. The planned Patriotic Concert for early April was postponed indefinitely on account of his death and the flag at the local school flew at half-mast as a mark of respect to their past student.   Harold was the only brother to talk to Eric while they were both overseas and recounted that when he meet him in France they talked about old times and home with Eric wishing to be back home before long.  Eric was not forgotten by his family – when  Clarence returned from the war he married Hilda Bishoff in 1920 and named their first son Hubert Eric. Eric as he was known, joined the RAAF and served in World War 2 just as his name sake had done before him.
….. distinguished and gallant service