Sir Eric Albert Bingen was the younger son of German parents who
naturalised in 1916. Both are the sons of Max and Leily Bingen, of 14, Briardale Gardens, Hampstead, London, then 21 Inglewood Road (1901 census); 4 and latterly Kidderpore Gardens, London (1911).
Their father Max N Bingen was a German subject and received his British naturalisation certificate on 29 June 1899 aged 32, along with his two children, Carl (3 years old) and Eric (1 year old). The 1901 census shows the
mother-in-law, Rachel Elmer, and 3 servants living with family. Max Bingen was a mercantile clerk at time of naturalisation.
Eric served with the Royal Sussex Regiment, like his older brother Charles. but this seems to be the only connection we could find with Sussex. For
example, neither man is mentioned on the Brighton Hebrew Congregation memorial.
The Royal Sussex Regiment is often thought to be made up of ‘pals brigades’ – where groups of friends from a similar area joined up together, with the result that a single battle could mean the death of lots of men from a small town in one go. For example, the 11-13th Battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment are sometimes known as Lowther’s Lambs (after the local MP Claude Lowther), and the Boar’s Head battle is known as the ‘day Sussex died’ because so many local men were killed at once.
However, it’s not necessarily the case that people joined their local regiment. Pre-1914, the army was under-strength and people could join up where they liked. In the initial rush after the outbreak of war, some units were over-subscribed so people joined up elsewhere. It wasn’t until March 1916 that men had to join up in a specific place. It may simply be that the Bingen brothers chose to enlist in the Sussex regiment, rather than having any family connections.
The IWM site also has a photo of his brother, Lieutenant Charles Adolf Max Bingen.
Charles’s was in the 5th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and died on 10 February 1916, on the Western Front. More details about Charles are available on the We Were There Too Jewish people on WWI website.
Unlike his brother, Eric survived the war, became a lawyer and was knighted, becoming Sir Bingen. He married a Peggy Lawrence who died in 1964 (source: Brend-Isenberg, Ancestry).