EDWARD SMETHURST CROWDER
This is a repost as more is now known about Edward as the International Red Cross Prisoner of War records are now available.
The biography was rewritten by Linda Trim.
Edward was a baker’s son who moved to West Kirby with his family in the 1890s.
Richard Crowder (1863-1921), who was a baker, married Maria Smethurst (1863-1891) on 20 October 1886 in Claughton cum Grange, part of Birkenhead, and Edward was their firstborn. He was born 15th January 1888 in Seacombe, Wirral, Cheshire.
In 1891 the family lived in Tranmere, near Birkenhead, Cheshire, by which time Edward had two sisters, Jessie (1889) and Margaret Ethel (1891). Sadly, by the June quarter of 1891, Maria, aged but 25, had died, possibly as a result of giving birth to Margaret. On the 9th of November 1892, Richard married Emily Henshaw in Liscard, Cheshire, and by the 1901 census the family had moved to 34, South Road, West Kirby, and had four additions to the family: Doris (1893) Elsie (1895) Richard Cameron (1897) and Gertrude Ella (1899).
In 1911 Edward was boarding with the Andrews family in West Kirby, at 51, South Road and was working as an upholsterer. His family had moved to Wallasey by this time.
In early 1913 Edward married Gertie Roberts in the Wirral, and they had a son, Leslie Robert Crowder, born 16th March 1914, died 1987 in Oxfordshire.
Edward had enlisted with the Territorial Army in 1909 at West Kirby, aged 21. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 36 inch chest measurement at his attestation. He was assigned to the 4th/8 The Cheshire Regiment, Regimental number 846. After war broke out, he went into the Kings Liverpool regiment as Private 203508 and at some unknown time was transferred to the Ashton Territorials, 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment as Pte. 370103.
Badge of the 9th Battalion
On February 6th 1918 the battalion transferred to 96th Brigade, still with the 32nd Division. In 1918 they were still active on the Somme, in the battles of Hindenberg Line and the final advance in Picardy. During this part of the Great War, battalions were being reformed and men transferred into other battalions. Many of Edward’s records are missing, but the 16th Manchesters were fighting in an occupied area called Manchester Hill. The Germans were keen on a decisive victory at Manchester Hill, wanting to retake it before the American reinforcements arrived. Manchester Hill was near St. Quentin where Edward was injured in the side and foot and captured by the Germans on the 31st March 1918, so it would be reasonable to infer that either his battalion was there, or he was seconded to the 16th Manchesters.
Red Cross Prisoner of War record
Red Cross Index card
His wife received a letter from him stating that he was a POW and being held in Limburg, Germany. He was transferred from Limburg to Skalmierschütz (Skalmierzyce) Poland and died in the military hospital there with the date of his death shown as 3rd June 1918.
Deeside Advertiser notice 21 June 1918
He received the British Medal and the Victory Medal and is listed on the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery in Poznan Poland.
Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery
Birth Q1 Seacombe, Cheshire
Death 3 June 1918
Addresses: 1891 Livingstone Road, Tranmere, Birkenhead; 1901 34, South Road, West Kirby, 1911 51, South Road, West Kirby.
Unit: Cheshire Regiment (Territorial), Kings Liverpool Regiment, 2/9th Manchester Regiment
Number and Rank: Private 203508 and 370103
Medals: British War Medal & Victory Medal
Commemorated: St. Bridget’s Church, West Kirby, Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby, Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland.
Sources: DA, CWGC, GH, MC, SR, WK, PR, SR, Census, 91, 01,11, BR