Rank:


Rifleman

Service No(s):


2740

Regiment:


London Regiment

Unit:

16th Battalion, Queen's Westminster Rifles

Returned:

No

Place of birth:

Hornsey - London

Occupation:

Stock Exchange Clerk

Date of death:

19/12/1915

Cause of death:

Killed in action

Grave or panel reference:

I.B.68.

Name of father:

John Edwards

Name of siblings:

Stanley Page, Leonard Bertram; Beatrice May; John Martin

Name(s) of children:

Died:

Yes

Date of birth:

11/04/1890

Place of enlistment:

Event:

France; Flanders

Age at death:

25

Cemetery or memorial:

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery

Other memorial:

Name of mother:

Charlotte Edwards (nee Page)

Name of spouse:

Address:

28 Ennis Road, Finsbury Park (1911 Census)

Biography:

Herbert Edwards was one of four brothers who served in the war, and one of eight Edwards cousins to serve, all of whom lived in Stroud Green. All returned home except Herbert.

Herbert was born on 11 April 1890 and baptised at New Court Congregational Church on 14 December that year. He was the third surviving son of John Edwards, a Warehouseman, who had retired by the time of the 1911 census, and Charlotte, nee Page.  In 1911 the family lived at 28 Ennis Road in Stroud Green and Herbert, aged 20 and single, worked as a Stock Exchange clerk. His brother Stanley also worked at the Exchange.

On 1 September 1914, less than a month after the declaration of war on Germany, Herbert enlisted as a Rifleman in the 16th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles.) His cousin Cecil was already in this Battalion, and another cousin, Oscar, also enlisted in the Queen’s Westminsters that September. Their stories were, however, to be quite different.

Herbert served with the British Expeditionary Force, being sent to France on 3 July 1915 and not long afterwards to Flanders. On 19 December 1915, near Ypres in Flanders, he was killed in action. Herbert’s Commanding Officer wrote to John Edwards that his son had been shot and killed instantly ‘while advancing under fire to a support position, under a gas attack’. Herbert was described as a cheerful and gallant soldier. He is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery and commemorated on the plaque in St Mellitus Church.

Herbert was among the thousands of young men who volunteered to serve at the very beginning of the war, and, like the great majority, he also volunteered to serve overseas if required. We know that Cecil transferred after six months to the 28th Battalion, the Artists Rifles, and was not sent to France until 1916; he was wounded in 1918 with lasting disabilities as a result, but he survived the war. It seems that Oscar did not volunteer to serve overseas as he was attached in 1915 to 105th Provisional Battalion, which served only in Britain. Herbert’s older brother Stanley served in the Royal Navy, including in the Dardanelles, and his younger brother John served with the London Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance in Gallipoli, Salonika and Egypt.