Eric Arthur Dring - Lincolnshire South Scout Section Officer
A report by CART CIO for Northumberland Stephen
Lewins. If you can help with any info please contact us.
This page last updated at 8:16am on 1/4/13
Eric Arthur Dring was born on the 14th August 1920 the Son of a Farmer just outside Boston in Lincolnshire. He
was Educated at Repton School from May 1934 until July 1937 and his list of Academic Achievements and Interests is
most impressive. He lists Shooting, Soccer, Squash, Tennis, Golf and Skiing as his Sporting Achievements and he had
a working knowledge of the following Languages, French, German and Urdu. German was picked up during a two month
holiday in Bavaria and Urdu comes from two years in Raj Putana, Eastern Bengal, Bombay and Arakan. Swimming,
Mountaineering, Running and Sailing along with ability to ride a Bicycle and a horse and drive all motor vehicles
including motorcycles all add to the impressive resume of Mr Eric Arthur Dring and there is no wonder then that
after Eric’s exploits in the Auxiliary Units the S.O.E. took an interest in him.
Between 1937 and 1939 Eric was employed in the family farming business, a business to this day that still
exists. On the 3rd September 1939, 2 days after the start of World War 2, Eric joined up with the 4th Battalion of
the Lincolnshire Regiment (TA) as a Private. Seven Months later and the 4th Bn were embedded into the Regular Army
and it is at this point that Eric undertook Officer Training at Aldershot. From August 1940 until October 1940
after Officer Training he ended up as Regimental Officer with the 4th Bn with his emergency commission coming
through on the 17th August 1940 as a 2nd Lieutenant which was Gazetted in the same month.
At the end of October 1940 Eric was seconded into the Auxiliary Units GHQ Home Front. We can only guess at how
but with his background of fitness and languages and being of Farming stock then he would have been an ideal
choice. He attended Coleshill House and passed out as a Scout Section Officer.
There is no further mention of his time as a Scout Officer and I can only suggest that he would have had the pick
of men from the Lincolnshire Regiment as his Scout Patrol which is still an ongoing research project.
In January 1942 Eric leaves the Auxiliary Units and his promoted to full Lieutenant employed in the Beach
Defence Section of the 6th Bn Lincolnshire regiment. In June 42 he attached to the 6/4 Bombay Grenadiers as Company
C.O. and Weapons Training Officer which lasts until May 43 where he is posted to the 85th Infantry Frontier
Force Regiment in India where he is based at E.W.S. Poona and involved in small boat, weapons training and combined
It is during this time that the S.O.E. rears its head and he joins Force 136 of S.O.E. starting with Lt
Colonel “Billy Beyts who was Chief of Staff to Colin McKenzie. Eric is given the symbol of B/B723 and in November
is involved in Operation Lancelot which was established to encourage and supply resistance movements in
enemy-occupied territory, and occasionally mount clandestine sabotage operations.
From November 1943 until February 1944 he is within the S.O.E Naval Section and with this comes the promotion to
Captain on the 20th January 1944. In June of 1944 he is part of S.O.E. Naval Section on Operation Galahad which was
basically an off-shoot of Wingate's Chindit type operations in the Far East. Come September of the same year
Eric is off again this time to New Delhi and spends the next few months in Calcutta and is available for SOE
Operation Prunella which is a little vague. From February 1945 to May 1945 he is in “N” Group in Bombay fitting out
His final part in the War is sailing from India to Trincomalee in what is now Sri Lanka. He is the Officer of
the Watch on the voyage. S.O.E. had a main base on the island at that time and from Trincomalee on 24/10/45 returns
It seems that while with the 85th Infantry in November 1943 Eric seems to have been a law unto himself and
really shirked his duty as shown in a letter from the Major in charge of the 85th to Colonel Beyts. The letter is as follows:
To O.P. (Col. Beyts) MOST
Coy 12 FFR
I much regret that I no longer have any alternative to bringing to your notice the highly
unsatisfactory conduct of Lt. DRING during the previous week.
On Saturday Oct. 30th, our first in the camp, Lt DRING was directed to hand over S.O.E. stores at
the office to Lt GODDARD. I left the office early in the morning and returned at lunch, to find no trace of Lt
DRING. I discovered the next morning that he had not been able to hand these stores over to Lt GODDARD on Saturday.
On the first day of our arrival in camp, where I was working myself until 1930 and with Lt PENTY unavoidably absent
most of the day owing to an abscess in his face, Lt DRING, finding that he was unable to hand over stores, instead
of coming down here to give me a hand just disappeared for the day without reference to anybody.
On Sunday I gave him a small list of things which I wanted seeing to. It included replacing articles
of uniform with special reference to overalls, and the urgently required replacement of unserviceable cycle tubes.
In the last seven days no articles of uniform have been replaced and an indent for cycle tubes was made out
Except for an hour after lunch he was absent all Friday afternoon and again the whole of Saturday
afternoon, without reference to me.
Para 4 of my standing orders required him to make out a roster of Duty officers. Checking up on it
today I find that he included in it every officer except himself. His explanation is that he did not think that the
Adjutant should do this.
Should it appear that I have taken a sudden or vindictive dislike to this officer with the object of
shifting the blame for the state of 85 Coy from my own shoulders, I must point out that as far back as Aug 28th I
paid a visit to the shows on which he was in charge and found that a series of orders which I had issued had not
been carried out. He was on the point of leaving for a week-end in BOMBAY and I told him to see these neglected
orders before he left. Despite, this I found that he had left for BOMBAY within 10 minutes of my leaving the
I had him up at the next opportunity and told him off for this and for his complete failure to take
any interest in his men out of parade hours. It was then that I discovered that three weeks after being given a
crew of 12 men to look after he did not know all of their names and none of their tribes. As a result of this I
decided to ask you to replace him, quoting only the fact that his lack of knowledge of even Urdu made him
unsuitable for dealing with my men. I put this to Col. BEYTS on Sept 4th.
Right up to date I have taken the attitude that officers are presumed to back up the C.C. come what
may, and that the C.O. knocks hell out of them himself but does not sneak on them to higher authority. At the
occasion of Mr STEWART’s last visit, when he turned on my officers I protested most strongly. Their efforts stand
up for the unfortunate collection of men who had put their trust in them, and regarding whom they had
previously made no collective complaint either to me or to visiting officers, are well known to
Now, when few men have been in such an unfortunate position as my men and I, my last surviving
British officer behaves as I have stated above. Having adopted the shoulder titles of this regiment when he joined
it in April he has now removed them and replaced them with those of the British Regiment which he left some 18
I have not shielded myself behind any individual and do not do so now. But this is a matter in which
my men and their future prospects of making good, are at stake, and an officer who is ashamed to wear their titles
while on parade with them and who will not fulfil his duties even in the letter, let alone the spirit, will receive
no more protection from me.
It didn’t seem to harm Eric’s career in any way and Colonel Beyts seems not to have taken any action against
Eric. Eric returned to England and returned to his farming as he had left off and was head of a successful Farming
Agricultural Business which I have said continues to this day. One part of the story intrigues me, I just wonder
what he was up to and where he was off to when he disappeared while with the 85th. Sadly Eric died in August 2000,
a man who started off as training the British Resistance and in a roundabout way continued throughout his career in
the same line of work helping to supply and arm other resistance forces in the Far East.
Special Thanks to Stephen Lewins for the personal file of Eric Dring
If you can help with any info please