This post was written by Victoria Doran
John Edwards was killed aged 25 on the first day of the German Spring Offensive of 1918 whilst a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery.
Any further information about John Edwards would be welcomed.
Book of Remembrance entry
Very little has been found about John Edwards, and even the Book of Remembrance entry is incorrect. His actual date of death was 21 March 1918 not 21 May 1918.
He was Gunner 244960 in the ‘A’ Battery of the 330th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.
Royal Field Artillery cap badge
One item that has been found is his medal card, which indicates that he did not go overseas until 1916 at the earliest.
Medal card for John Edwards
The database ‘UK Soldiers Died during the Great War’, which is a transcription of 80 volumes published by the British Government in 1921 listing the other ranks who died during the war, gives both his residence and enlistment place as Birkenhead, though the enlistment place is generally actually the residence place at the date of enlistment. Unusually and unhelpfully, it does not give a place of birth.
The Register of Soldier’s Effects, which describes what happened to his final pay and War Gratuity, tells us that he had a widow named Ethel alive on 18 June 1919.
Register of Soldiers Effects entry for John Edwards
There is a marriage of a John Edwards to an Ethel Waring in the summer of 1916 in Wirral, which is probably the correct one. However this cannot be proved, and there were too many suitably aged Ethel Warings in the area in 1911 to investigate them all.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) record provides no information about his relatives, which is not unusual.
His body was only found in 1919 when many people were employed to clear the former battle fields. During this process the precise grid reference on the old Trench Maps is given for the location where the body was found. John was found near Hargicourt in Picardy, about 8 miles east of Peronne, and buried at Jeancourt a few miles from where he was found. Another soldier from the same Battery was buried at the same time, so it is probable that their gun received a direct hit.
Jeancourt Military Cemetery Extension
The probable reason for his inclusion on Grange Hill War Memorial is that Ethel had moved to north west Wirral by 1921 when names were being compiled.
Birth: abt 1893; place unknown
Death: 21 Mar 1918 near Hargicourt, Aisne, Picardie, France; killed in action
Addresses: not known
Occupation: not known
Unit: ‘A’ Battery, 330th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Number and Rank: 244960; Gunner
Medals: Victory and British War
Buried and Commemorated: Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Bethune, Jeancourt, Aisne, Picardie, France; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby
Sources: GH, CWGC, MC, RSE, BR, trench map