16th (Queen's Westminster Rifles); 105th Provisional
Place of birth:
Clerk, Port of London Authority
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Grave or panel reference:
Name of father:
William Benjamin Edwards
Name of siblings:
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Name of mother:
Elizabeth Edwards, nee Hunt
Name of spouse:
Doris Lavinia Edwards, nee Jones
1915 - 42 Oakfield Road
Oscar Edwards is one of eight Edwards cousins who lived in Stroud Green and served in the war. All but one, Herbert, came back safely and five are commemorated at St Mellitus.
Born in 1894, Oscar was the only son of William Benjamin Edwards, known as Ben, and his wife Lizzie, nee Hunt. In 1901 his father was a clerk in the Port of London Authority and by 1907 he was with the Metropolitan Asylums Board in the City. Oscar’s sister, Doris Mary, was born in 1901. The family lived at 24 Upper Tollington Park, where they shared the large house with another family, and by 1915 when Oscar was in the Army they had moved to 42 Oakfield Road.
Oscar attended City of London School, a private boys’ school where the fees were £6 7s 3d per term, from September 1907 to the second term of 1909, when he left school. In the 1911 census he was recorded as a clerk in the Port of London Authority.
Oscar began his military service on 11 September 1914, just a month after the outbreak of war, as a Rifleman in 16th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Queen’s Westminsters), which like all the London Regiment was a Territorial Force unit. This was the same battalion as Herbert, his cousin, who was killed in action at Ypres in December 1915, and the battalion in which Cecil, another cousin, initially also served.
There is little information about Oscar’s service, but we can deduce that he was not with Herbert at Ypres as a 1915 document shows him attached to the 105th Provisional Battalion of the London Regiment. It seems that Oscar did not volunteer for service abroad unlike Herbert and many other young men. In June 1915, men of Territorial Force units who had only volunteered for Home service were formed into Provisional Battalions for coastal defence. In 1916 the Military Service Act swept away the Home/Overseas service distinction and the provisional battalions took on the dual role of home defence and physical conditioning to render men fit for drafting overseas. The 105th Provisional Battalion was assigned to the Honourable Artillery Company. Eventually Oscar was demobilised on 1 February 1919.
In 1915 Oscar was granted the Freedom of the City of London, which seems a remarkable achievement for a former clerk of just 24 years of age. It was the result of an Order of the Common Council of the City of London in May 1915 which meant that all Alumni from the City of London School who served were automatically granted the Freedom of the City.
Oscar married Doris Lavinia Jones in 1922 at Holy Trinity Church in Stroud Green, and by 1939 they had settled in Surrey. Oscar continued to work for the Port of London Authority. He died in 1978.