Photograph of Edward in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: Acc3372
(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Edward was born between January and March 1898 in Chorlton, Manchester. His father was called George William and his mother was Lydia Sabriah. Edward had 2 older brothers: Herbert and George, and 3 younger sisters: Alice Emily, Eva and Lilian. Herbert was born on the 27th February 1895 and died between April and June of that year, so Edward never knew him. The family were members of the Church of England.
George was self employed as a shop fitter, making display cases. He also sold wooden puppets, which Lydia would dress. In 1896 the family lived on Broom Lane in Levenshulme, Manchester. They were at number 64 in 1901, but we don't know if this was their home 5 years earlier. By 1911 the family had moved to 9 Ventnor Avenue in Levenshulme.
After he left school Edward began to work for John Wainwright and Sons Estate Agents. They were based on Brazennose Street in Manchester. We don't know his exact job. He was still working for them when the First World War broke out in August 1914.
We believe Edward joined the Army in around April or May 1916. We don't know whether he volunteered or was conscripted. Edward joined the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force and before the war it was based at Burlington Street in Manchester. As the Army expanded at the beginning of the war the 7th Battalion had formed a second 7th Battalion (2/7th). We don't know whether Edward served with the 1/7th or the 2/7th Battalion.
Soldiers serving with units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers in around March 1917. Edward's became 277086. We don't know his old number. We don't believe he went overseas before this time.
From March 1917 onwards both battalions fought on the Western Front, although not side by side. They took part in the Passchendaele Offensive, which was fought around the Belgian town of Ypres during the autumn of 1917. From the 21st March until the end of April 1918 they took part in the desperate attempts to stop the German Spring Offensive. The 2/7th Battalion was disbanded during April, but the 1/7th continued and took part in the Allied attacks of the Hundred Days Offensive. This began in August 1918 and led to the end of the war on the 11th November.
The Army demobilised soldiers like Edward during 1919. We don't know exactly when he was able to return to Manchester, but when he did he went back to John Wainwright and Sons. Edward would stay with them for his entire working life. Towards the end of his career he was a clerk, but we don't know whether he had always had this role.
Between April and June 1921 Edward married May Fearnley in Stockport, near Manchester. They had one child, George William, between October and December of that year. George was named after Edward's brother. He had joined the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in April 1915 and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps in November 1917. He was promoted to Corporal in early 1918 and awarded the Military Medal for bravery at some point during the first week of the German Spring Offensive. George died age 22 on the 27th September 1918. He is buried in Grevillers British Cemetery near Bapaume in France.
George William senior, Edward's father, died in 1935 aged 78. Lydia continued to live at 9 Ventnor Avenue until she died at the age of 93 in January 1962. She left £283 6 shillings and 8 pence to Edward.
Edward retired from John Wainwright and Sons in the early 1960s. By the middle of this decade he and May lived at 4 Roman Road in Failsworth, Oldham. He died in Oldham District General Hospital (in 2013 the Royal Oldham Hospital) on the 15th February 1966. He was 68 years old. May was 77 when she died in Stockport in 1974.
At some point George William junior, Edward's son, emigrated from the UK and went to live in Canada. He married, and towards the end of his life we believe he lived in Burnaby, British Columbia. He died in 2002.
Edward and George's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment together in October 2005.