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Royal Engineers
Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis, 1999

Eric Thomas Caparn was born on Station Road in Petersfield, Southampton on the 2nd of January 1886. From 1896 to 1899 he attended Lincoln Grammar School and in 1900 he entered Finsbury Technical College and was a cadet in the University of London Officers Training Corps.

In 1902 Eric became an Apprentice to Lawrence Scott and Company in Norwich and rose to the position of Assistant Engineer with that firm in 1906. In December of 1909 he took a position with the ship building firm of John Brown & Company, and in 1910 he was elected an Associate Member in the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Caparn applied for a temporary commission in the Royal Engineers on the 11th of September 1915 and was appointed a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on the 30th of January 1916. On the 13th of July 1916 he was posted to the 106th Field Company, Royal Engineers.

Caparn was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on the 4th of October 1916. He took part in the action at Messines in April of 1917 and was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the operations. On the 4th of June 1917 his award of the M.C. was announced in the London Gazette. Three days later he was slightly wounded while still serving on Messines Ridge.

Lieutenant Caparn was posted as Second-in Command of the 106th Field Company on the 27th of October 1917 and in the following month he was sent home on leave. He returned to his company on the 31st of December 1917 and on the 9th of February 1918 he was appointed to the rank of Temporary Captain.

Captain Caparn was wounded by shell fire near Buchanan Camp on the 25th of March 1918. In April he departed France on convalescent leave and did not return to the front until November of 1918. At that time he was assigned to the 2nd Bridging Battalion, Royal Engineers. On the 21st of November 1918 Caparn was appointed to the temporary rank of Major and took over as Officer Commanding, Heavy Tank Bridging Company, Royal Engineers. He was demobilized on the 15th of July 1919 with the rank of Captain.

Following his demobilization, Caparn returned to Lawrence Scott and Company where he took up the duties of Chief Electrical Engineer. On the 26th of February 1920 he was remobilized for service in Iraq. He relinquished his commission in the Royal Engineers on the 8th of September 1921 and took the position of Executive Engineer with the Public Works Department in Iraq, a postion that he was to hold until 1925.

On the 17th of July 1925 Caparn married Elsie Maria Lloyd at Camberwell. He returned to his duties in Iraq with his wife and in 1927 he was appointed Superintending Engineer in the Public Works Department. He was also elected President of the Baghdad District Water Board.

On the 1st of January 1935 Caparn was awarded the Order of the British Empire (Civil) for his work in Iraq. He was subsequently promoted to Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department and spent the years of World War 2 in Iraq. In January of 1947 he retired from public service and was awarded the Order of Al Rafidhain, 3rd Class, Civil Division by the Iraqi government.

Upon his return to England, Caparn became the Director of Lawler Ayers and Company, Ltd. He died at Tunbridge Wells on the 3rd of June 1971.