Second Lieutenant Edward Stanley Strachan was born on 25 July 1879, eldest son of James Edward, a wine merchant and Elizabeth Strachan of Kingswood, 14 Kings Avenue, Clapham Park, London. In Luton, he was was as a partner in the grocery and wines business of T. Forman & Co of Market Hill, but he had previously worked in his father’s business.
He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School before going up to Jesus College, Cambridge in 1898 where he joined the Cambridge University Volunteers and subsequently the Civil Service Rifles. He coxed the second Jesus boat in Lent term 1899 despite being at 9st 10lbs somewhat big for the role.
Strachan was gazetted on 7 April 1915 to the 8th Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). He went to France on 17 June and took part in several engagements before being reported ‘missing, believed killed’ in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 14 October 1915. He was “missing, believed killed” for over a year before his family were told that he had been killed.
At 0415 hrs on 14 Oct 1915 the 8th Foresters (temporarily under command of 138 Brigade) attacked the approaches to the Hohenzollern Redoubt at Loos to take pressure off the rest of 46 Division who were under severe pressure in the redoubt itself from German counter attacks. The Battalion was relieved after 25 hours fighting having established a strongpoint 80 yds short of Point 60. On the same day Capt Charles Vickers of the 7th Foresters was winning a VC by his bombing exploits inside the redoubt itself. With 170 casualties the 8th Foresters had suffered more heavily than any other Battalion in the Forester Brigade. Strachan was killed in this action on 14th October 1915 and has no known grave and is remembered on the Loos Memorial.
Strachan was good friends with the Master of Jesus’s son, Jack Gray, also a fellow Jesuan who fought with him in the same regiment. Gray was able to tell the Jesus Society that Strachan, who had been recorded as “missing believed killed” in the Times on 1 November 1915, had actually died in the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 14 October 1915. Gray also says that:
“Strachan was one of the best officers they had, always ready to do more than his share of the hard work”
In the same attack his fellow officer in the 1/8 Sherwood Foresters and Brother Mason Second Lieutenant Ralph Eustace Hemingway of Nottinghamshire Lodge No 1434 also fell.
Strachan is included on the Luton Roll of Honour and his name is a listed on the Jesus College Cambridge Roll of Honour.
Strachan was initiated into Sir Thomas White Lodge No 1820 on 7 December 1906, and passed and raised the following year.