Died 6th April 1916
No. 19681 of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 1st Battalion.
Born: Woburn Sands, born about 1892
Resided: 32 The Leys, Woburn Sands
Enlisted: Bletchley

Edwards parents were Thomas and Mary Ann. He was one of five sons who went to war, and also one of twins, (the other, Frederick Charles, was in the 1st Ox. and Bucks.) Brothers Walter and William served with the 15th Royal Warwickshires, and on HMS Eaglet in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, respectively. His sisters’ husband, Charles George of Wavendon, won a Distinguished Conduct Medal at the Second Battle of Ypres.

The original Ox. and Bucks. 1st Battalion were captured at Kut-al-Imara in Iraq. They had landed at Basra, from India, in November 1914, and advanced steadily inland, going northwestwards for over 360km before being driven 100km back by the Turks and finally besieged at the town of Kut, on 29th November 1915. When their supplies ran out on 29th April 1916, about 400 men surrendered. Only 71 survived to return home due to the appalling conditions they were forced to endure as prisoners.

Edward was in a second 1st Battalion, formed in January 1916. They were with the 2nd Battalion, who were trying to break into the town to rescue their comrades. At dawn on April 5th, the rescuers were caught out on a plain with no cover, in full view of the Turkish positions. They were ordered to attack, and 13 officers advanced with 266 men. The Turks opened fire at 5.35am, from 700 yards. Six officers were killed and six wounded. Fifty one other ranks were killed, 170 wounded and 14 never seen again. Only one officer and 17 men escaped unwounded. The regiment suffered an 88% casualty rate. The action became known as the First Battle of Sunnaiyat.

His parents heard on May 6th that he had been killed in action, aged 24. He is listed on the Basra Memorial in Iraq, which records the names of 40,000 Commonwealth war dead from 1914 to 1921. He is listed on the Woburn Sands Memorial and the Methodist Memorial. His army service papers have not survived.

Edward’s Medal card



Page last updated Jan. 2019.