Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Edward Sale

Edward Sale :

Edward Sale : British War Medal

British War Medal

Edward was born in Manchester, although we don't know when. His mother was called Mary and he had at least 2 sisters; May and Grace. We don't know anything else about his early life.

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Edward joined the Army on the 19th November. He was living at a Young Men's Institute and working as an electrician when he enlisted. He was 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall with a 'ruddy' complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.

Edward chose to join the 6th City Battalion. The City Battalions were 'Pals' units, formed by the workers of Manchester so that they could serve together. This unit became the 21st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and Edward was assigned to XIII Platoon in D Company. He also joined the Bugle Band, who played both the Bugle and the Drum on ceremonial occasions. He was given the service number 19503.

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 battalion. They sailed to France on the 10th November 1915.

Early 1916 was spent around Mametz near Fricourt. The battalion took its turn in the front line and took part in raids on the German trenches. During June the battalion began training to take part in the Somme Offensive, which was scheduled to begin on the 1st July.

The Offensive began in the early morning of the 1st July. The 21st Battalion was held in reserve as 3 other battalions attacked Mametz. After a few hours these 3 units had taken heavy casualties, so the 21st Battalion was ordered to move forward and support them.

Together, the 4 battalions were able to capture and hold Mametz, but they lost many men killed, wounded or missing. Edward was one of the men killed that day. We don't know how old he was when he died.

Shortly after the end of the war the National Publishing Company began an attempt to print a roll covering every man who had served in the First World War. They invited veterans or their families to send a short account of his or her service, for a fee. Not all veterans took up this offer, and the details they included were not checked for accuracy.

Edward was the only E. Sale serving in the Manchester Regiment to die during the First World War. That suggests that this entry relates to him, despite the errors. We don't know who submitted it. It was published in Section XI, Manchester, of the National Roll of the Great War:

Sale, E, Private, 8th Manchester Regiment.

He volunteered in 1915 and was retained on important home duties with his unit until 1916, when he proceeded to the Western Front. During his service in this theatre of war he took part in the Battle of the Somme (I), where he was unhappily killed in action in the same year. He was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals.

'His memory is cherished with pride'.

8, Halifax Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.

Edward's body was never found, so he is now one of 72,203 men whose names are listed on the Thiepval Memorial in France. He is on Pier 13 Face A or Pier 14 Face C.

Edward's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in 1971. As well as his British War Medal, Edward was also awarded the 1914-15 Star and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council