Eric Varley was born on 19 January 1899 in Wolverhampton, the son of Jesse and Katherine Jane Varley (nee McKee). In 1901 they were living at “Longleat”, 151 Paget Road, together with Eric’s brothers Jesse and Roland and a servant, Edith Ward. By 1911 they were at “Longleat”, Albert Road (they clearly chose to keep the name of their house when they moved), and Eric now had a sister, Kathleen, and further brother, Harold, and the family also had a nurse, Kate Bowyer, and servant Annie May Gibbs.
Eric enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, later the Royal Air Force, in March 1917 (number 15090). He was awarded his Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificate on 24 Sep 1917, having attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. He was wounded twice in France, once in the shoulder on 1 April 1918 and then in the arm on 8 April 1918. On 22 June 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross. He relinquished his commission on 23 October 1918 on the grounds of ill health caused by his wounds, and was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant.
In 1923, Eric married Mary H. A. O. K. Knott in Birmingham, and they had four children – Peter, Ann, Alan and Neil – born in West Bromwich and later Nottingham, between 1924 and 1947. Eric himself died at his home in Wigtownshire on 2 December 1963.
Incidentally, Eric’s father, Jesse, was an accountant for Wolverhampton Council’s Education Authority, and he was (in)famously found out for defrauding the Council of about £80,000, by taking the salaries of “phantom” teachers between 1907 and 1916. You can find out more about that case at Wolverhampton Archives.