Photograph of Edward in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: Acc5098
(L to R) Military Medal and Bar; 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Edward's family or early life.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 Edward felt a strong enough connection to Manchester to want to join the 6th City Battalion that was being formed by its workers. He enlisted on the 18th November 1914 and was given the service number 18608. This unit became the 21st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and Edward was assigned to IV Platoon in A Company.
The 21st Battalion trained in Manchester until January 1915 when it moved to Morecambe, Lancashire. That April Edward moved to Belton Park near Grantham, Lincolnshire, and in September he was sent to Larkhill in Wiltshire with the 21st Battalion. They sailed to France on the 10th November 1915.
We don't know much about Edward's service in France. The 21st Battalion took part in the Somme Offensive between the 1st July and November 1916. They then fought at the Battle of Arras in April 1917 and the Passchendaele Offensive around Ypres in Belgium during the autumn of that year.
Edward's war changed in November 1917. The 21st Battalion was one of a number of British units sent to Italy to help the Italian Army in its fight against Austria-Hungary. Edward served on the River Piave until September 1918. This was a much quieter time for the battalion.
In France the Allies had begun an offensive against the Germans on the 8th August. It was very successful and the Allies began advancing rapidly. Several British units were returned to France to take part in what would become known as the Hundred Days Offensive; the 21st Battalion was one of them. They arrived in France in mid-September and first entered combat early the next month.
By this time Edward had been promoted to Sergeant. During the Hundred Days he carried out 2 acts of bravery that were recognised with the award of the Military Medal. The first took place during October, most probably during or around the Battle of the Selle between the 17th and the 26th. The second award was for an act in late October or early November, before the end of the war on the 11th. It may have been connected to the Battle of the Sambre on the 4th. The award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette on the 17th June 1919 and the award of the Bar on the 20th August.
Edward had never been injured during his war service. He was transferred to the Class Z Army Reserve on the 11th March 1919. This meant he could have been called back to the Army if the Armistice with Germany had broken down; but it never did. His life after this remains a mystery.