Private 14231 Edward Burton

 Burton Edward 96 386x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 28th April 1918, age 27.

Commemorated on Panel 73 to 76 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

1st/5th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

Husband of Mary Ann Burton, of 42, Lower Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 24th August 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/728975/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
30 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Burton (62, Iron Works Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Ellen (49, born Lancashire), and their 7 children: Jane (29, born Tipton), George (20, Blast Furnaceman, born Tipton), James (18, Coal Miner - Loader, born Tipton), Mary (16, born Tipton), Susannah (14, born Tipton), Edward (11, Scholar, born Tipton), and William (7, Scholar, born Tipton).

1911 Census
33 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Burton (72, born Tipton), his wife Helen (59, born Lancashire), and 3 of their 6 surviving children of 7: Susannah Warmer (23, born Tipton, plus her husband and 2 children), Edward (21, General Labourer for Coal Merchant, born Tipton), and William (17, General Labourer at Engineering Works, born Tipton).

Marriage of Edward Burton and Mary Thornett registered December 1912 at Dudley.

Personal Data

Although E Burton is not on the Tipton Library Memorial, he should have been except for a sign-writer error. The 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' records E Burton, South Staffs which was incorrectly added to the memorial as S Burton.

A grandson of Edward Burton said that the CWGC told him that Edward Burton was buried in one of 6 "known unto god" graves in Dud Corner, but they don't know which one. Route: enter Cemetery, then on the right hand side - near the book, walk to the memorial plaques, turn to left and there are 6 'known unto god' graves, Edward's grave is thought to be one of those.

The family photograph shows Edward and Mary with their children William and Sarah Ellen. This was probably taken in 1915 as a third child, Violet, was born in March quarter 1916.

The 'Soldiers Effects' papers shows that Edward's outstanding army pay and allowances of £13/15/5d (13 pounds, 15 shillings and 5 pence) was paid to this widow and sole legatee, Mary, in August 1918. His War Gratuity of £17/0/0d (17 pounds exactly) was also paid to Mary in December 1919. This suggests that Edward enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The Germans broke through south of Arras on 21st March 1918 during the Spring Offensive. The 46th Division was ordered to relieve a Canadian Division at Lens on 27th March, suffering severe gas shelling and a vicious air attack on transport lines. The Division was relieved on 11th April.

The Division next took over the line north of La Bassée Canal on the 24th April, afterwards known as Gorre and Essars sectors, extending from near Givenchy on the right, to the Lawe Canal on the left, at the nearest point about two and-a-half miles from Béthune. There were no trenches, just an irregular series of disconnected holes and no communications trenches to hide the troop's movement to the front line. The whole area was perfectly flat, and almost entirely under observation by the Germans, by day no movement was possible and no work could be done, apart from ordinary sentry duty.

The front line marked the limit of the German offensive in April; on the right was the 'Route "A" Keep' sub-sector, one of the old 1915 strong points with two concrete machine-gun emplacements. It was now a mere heap of shattered trees and shattered trenches, undoubtedly the unhealthiest part of the whole Divisional front. The so-called "Keep" was merely the highest ground in the locality, an important tactical feature due to a degree of visibility over the German lines, though having nothing in the way of defences to warrant the term "Keep." There had been considerable fighting over its possession during March and April 1918, in 20 days it changed hands nine times.

On 28th and 29th April, the 1/5th South Staffords made a successful attack on 'Route "A" Keep', the Germans made no further efforts to retake it. Corpses from both sides lay all around, and made the place distinctly unpleasant. Life was made still more unpleasant by constant trench mortaring and shelling, whilst protection slight due to the rudimentary nature of the trench system.

It was during the actions around 'Route "A" Keep' that Edward Burton was killed on 28th April, his body never being identified and he is now commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner Cemetery.

The 1/5th South Staffs had 20 men killed in this sector during April 1918. Two men from Tipton in addition to Edward Burton were killed in these actions, Arthur Westwood and Frederick Keating both being killed in action on 29th April.

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