EDWIN KINGSLEY POOLE
This post was written by Victoria Doran
Edwin Kingsley Poole is only known about from the Book of Remembrance. He served from the earliest days of the war, and died from illness more than 2 years after he was demobbed in 1919. However his family considered that he died because of the war, so he is included in our records.
Book of Remembrance entry
In the only army records found he is referred to as Edward rather than Edwin, but on all documents completed by his family he is recorded as Edwin, so that is how this post will refer to him. No explanation of his middle name has been found.
Edwin was born in the summer of 1885 in the Calne district of Wiltshire, the older of the 2 sons of George Poole (1840-1915) and Lucy Mary Dean (1852-1920). His brother Robert George Poole (1886-1962) was born in West Kirby. With their mother the brothers lived in Hoylake in childhood, and moved to 27 Eaton Road, West Kirby by 1911.
Their father disappeared from their lives very early on. George Poole was the eldest child of the very large family of William Poole (1810-1899) and Elizabeth Wait (1818-1898), and lived in Henbury to the north of Bristol. At that time it would have been rural, and William Poole was an agricultural labourer who ended up as a pauper. Somehow George was apprenticed to a dentist and managed to end up as a dental surgeon in Bristol by the time the Dental Register was introduced in 1878. He must have had ability.
George Poole married Elizabeth Fletcher (1838-1882) in the summer of 1857 when he was still only aged 17 and she was 19. Their first child was born the following May, so it was not a ‘forced’ marriage. At this time, his parents were still adding yet more children to their own family. George and Elizabeth had 11 surviving children before she died at the end of 1881. Their eldest, George William Poole (1858-1924) was also a registered dentist working with his father.
After this something went badly wrong in the family. About 1883 or 1884 George William Poole moved his growing family to Sheffield, Yorkshire and some of his sisters went with him. It has not proved possible to trace where his younger brothers went, but by February 1883 George Poole was advertising for a dental student. At that time it would have been expected that one of his sons would have taken up such an opportunity.
On 26 July 1884 George Poole married Lucy Mary Dean at St Peter, Formby, Lancashire. The witnesses are Lucy’s sister Clara Jane and her husband. How George and Lucy met is unknown.
Note that both fathers were described as ‘gentleman’ though that was certainly not true of William Poole.
Presumably Lucy returned to Bristol with him, as George did not leave Bristol at this time. She will have found that his 2 youngest daughters were what would now be called ‘special needs’; Mabel Emmaline (1877-???) is described as ‘imbecile’ on the 1911 census and Lilian Beatrice (1879-???) as ‘feeble-minded’. Possibly Lucy was unaware of this when she married George. Why Edwin was born in Wiltshire is also a mystery as neither George nor Lucy have any known connection there. She must have stayed with George at least until Robert was conceived, but had moved to West Kirby by his birth in July 1886 and never moved away from north west Wirral again.
George has not been found at the 1891 census, but Mabel and Lilian were in an orphanage (and abandoned to the charity sector for the rest of their lives), and no other member of the family has been found in the Bristol area at that time or indeed later. According to the UK Dental Register, George was still working in Bristol in 1896, but in October 1900 he committed bigamy by marrying widow Edith (Edwards) Pearson in Cardiff. Lucy described herself as ‘married’ in the 1901 census, so they were not divorced – which would have been unlikely anyway at that time for people of their backgrounds. He remained in Cardiff with Edith for the rest of his life and she was granted probate of his £1,270 estate when he died in 1915. Probably she had no idea that he still had a previous wife alive.
It is most unlikely that Edwin ever ‘knew’ his father, or had contact with his many half brothers and sisters and their families.
Lucy was the eldest of the 7 daughters of William Dean (1823-1864) and Jane Sandbach (1830-1873). The girls had an older brother, Thomas Sandbach Dean (1850-1901). The Dean family lived in various locations in the Northwich district of Cheshire. William Dean had started out working with his father, Thomas Dean (1796-1881). Thomas was a stone mason who became a builder and then a farmer at Leftwich Old Hall. However by the 1881 census he described himself as a ‘retired builder’ and it seems likely that he continued as a builder whilst calling himself a farmer, as he only farmed about 134 acres.
William Dean switched to farming in his late 20s, and farmed on a larger scale with 580 acres and employing 12 labourers. Unfortunately he died at the age of 41 in July 1864. He left nearly £3,000, a considerable sum for that time. By 1871 Lucy’s mother had moved to Liverpool, possibly so that son Thomas could become apprenticed to a merchant, though after his mother’s death he became a Church of England clergyman. All her children were with her except for Lucy, who was working as a governess in a vicarage at Skidby, Yorkshire where the vicar was running a small boarding school.
The second daughter, Charlotte Eliza Dean married in June 1873 and her mother Jane died a month later leaving about £1,000. Charlotte and her family moved to France, and probably took little further part in the lives of her younger sisters.
Next sister Clara Jane Dean (1855-1938) married someone with a good career in a bank in 1880 and by 1891 they had moved to Formby, where her home seems to have become the base for the rest of her sisters, several of whom also became governesses. They clearly did not have enough to live on without working, and governess was one of the few options available to them.
In 1881 Lucy was a patient in a convalescent home in Bognor, Sussex, run by the Merchant Taylors Company. Possibly she was not robust.
Life must have been difficult for Lucy in Hoylake and West Kirby, trying to bring up 2 boys without any support from her husband. None of the Dean girls had inherited enough to live as the middle class to which they belonged without having to seek employment. It is not clear who may have assisted Lucy. Possibly a couple of her married sisters may have contributed to her finances. Dora Elizabeth Dean (1857-1915) had married a doctor from Alsace, France and lived overseas, but they moved to West Kirby by early 1915 when both died within a couple of months, whilst living in the same road as Lucy.
Edwin was educated at Calday Grange Grammar School. He had left school by the age of 16 and worked initially as a commercial clerk. In 1911 he was working as clerk to the electrical engineer of Hoylake Urban District Council.
Cheshire Regiment cap badge
When war was declared he must have enlisted in the 1st/4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment very early on as he is listed in the Deeside Advertiser of 6 November 1914 as already being ‘with the colours’. His regimental number of 2159 is only 7 greater than that of Herbert James Whelan, another member of the same battalion. They will have trained and served together. Early in August 1915 they landed and fought at Gallipoli, where Herbert was killed. This is confirmed by Edwin’s medal card.
The Cheshire Regiment seems to have renumbered all its soldiers part way though the war. They certainly had duplicate numbers across battalions before the renumbering.
We know very little about Edwin’s further war service, except that the June 1916 edition of the Old Caldeian magazine reported that Edwin was in hospital in the Middle East and the Book of Remembrance entry refers to service in Palestine and France.
Edwin was demobbed on 10 May 1919, apparently fit.
He was living at 27 Eaton Road, West Kirby on 18 December 1921 when he died at 36 Church Road. It seems he may have suffered a stroke or heart attack as he did not die in his own bed. He was 36 years old and left £335. His brother clearly ascribed his death to the effects of his war service.
As he died after the end of July 1921, he was not eligible for inclusion as a war death by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is not known where he is buried.
He is not known to be commemorated anywhere except the Book of Remembrance.
Birth: July 1885 at Calne, Wiltshire
Death: 18 Dec 1921 at 36 Church Road, West Kirby; illness
Addresses: Church Road, Hoylake (91); 32 Church Road, Hoylake (01); 27 Eaton Road, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: electrical engineers clerk – Hoylake UDC
Unit: 1st/4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Numbers and Rank: 2159, 200476; Private
Medals: 15 Star, Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: not known
Sources: BR, MC, Census: 91, 01, 11, PR, Probate, CGB, UK Dental Register