Major Hebden web

Major Eric Hebden in Malasia, late 1940s

Eric Noel Hebden was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, on 25 December 1910. He won a scholarship to Keighley Grammar School, before the family moved to Clowne, Derbyshire, during his teens. He joined the Royal Artillery at the age of 18 and was posted to Hong Kong. After five years there in 1937 or '38, the troop ship taking him and his regiment home put in at Gibraltar, which was being re-fortied, and the regiment was ordered to disembark. He was still there at the outbreak of the Second World War.

It was in Gibraltar he met Mercedes Andrew, whom he married in 1940. She was evacuated with the rest of the civilian population, and gave birth to their first child, Susan, in 1941. Eric gained a commission and was promoted to Captain, commanding a coastal anti-aircraft battery using radar. He later served in the far east, including India, Burma and Indonesia, and after the Japanese surrender, by now a Major, he sat on the War Crimes Commission in Singapore. Mercedes and Susan joined him there in 1947. The family returned to England in 1949, settling in Bristol, where their second child, Alan, was born in 1950. Eric was to take up a posting in Japan, but Alan needed an operation on a club foot, so he stayed in Bristol.

He retired from the army after 25 years' service. He had long written as a hobby, including poetry and army revues, and while working for the Civil Service at an army depot in Shropshire he entered a competition to write a romance comic strip. He didn't win, but he did get work out of it, writing for various romance titles, including photo-strips. Later he found a niche in war comics, writing for Commando, Battle Picture Library and Lion in the 1960s, and Battle Picture Weekly (for which he also acted as technical adviser), including "Day of the Eagle", "The Fortrose Falcon" and "Iron Cross of Courage", in the 1970s. His son Alan followed in his footsteps as a comics writer.

During the 60s he was appointed Executive Officer at the National Army Museum, originally at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and the family moved to Camberley. When the Museum moved to London in 1971 he took early retirement. Mercedes died in 1980, and after staying with Susan and her husband in Norway for a while, Eric moved into a retirement home for ex-servicement in Bexhill. He died there in 1989.



Battle Picture WeeklyEdit


  • Steve Holland, Comment on Bear Alley, 21 February 2008
  • David Bishop, "Blazing Battle Action", Judge Dredd Megazine 209-212, August-November 2003
  • Christian Kirkefjord (Eric's grandson), personal communication
  • Susan L. Hebden (Eric's daughter), personal communication

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