Edward Sibun Hornblower
Private, Alberta Regiment
Edward Sibun Hornblower was born on 13th November 1873. He was the son of Joseph Hornblower, a publican, and lived at 1 Mundania Road, Forest Hill. He was a pupil at Alleyn's from January 1886 until 1890, and after leaving school he became a Clerk and then an Insurance Broker. He married Gertrude Evaline Harwar in August 1902 and lived at the Mount, Cheam Road, Sutton. In August 1914, he was abroad on a business trip when the news of the war first reached him in Canada. Despite being away from England, he immediately decided to join the war effort after hearing the announcement. Edward was technically exempt from military service as he was older than 38, but he was determined to carry out his duty for his country and after being found fit for service, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as part of the Alberta Regiment. During his time with the regiment, Edward served overseas on the Western Front as a Private and was part of the Machine Gun Section. In 1917, he was serving in France when he unexpectedly fell ill. He was transferred back to England shortly afterwards and was sent to the Military Hospital in Seaford to recover. Unfortunately, Edward later died of pneumonia on March 22nd 1917 and was buried at Seaford Cemetery. At 43 years old, Edward was one of the two oldest AOBs killed in the war, the other being Corporal Dunlop.
In addition to being one of the oldest AOBs to enlist in the war, it is widely thought that Hornblower’s surname served as the inspiration behind the naming of C. S. Forester’s main protagonist in the Horatio Hornblower series. Cecil L. T. Smith, known by his pen name C. S. Forester, was a student at Alleyn’s from 1910 to 1915 and was heavily involved in the Old Boys Association and had regular contact with the School after he left. It is highly likely that Smith would have been invited to the unveiling of the war memorial panels in 1922 and that he came across Hornblower’s name at this point. There does not seem to be any other connection between the two men. It is known that Smith was also present when the Seaford War Memorial was unveiled. The Hornblower name would later appear in print when Smith published the first Horatio Hornblower adventure in 1938.