Lance Corporal 43473 James Edwards

Edwards James 96 377x600 Edwards James 96 415x600
Photograph of James and Mary Anne Edwards courtesy of their grandson, Barry Edwards.

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 14th April 1918, age 27/28.
Buried in Grave XXIX. B. 20A. at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. 97th Brigade of 32nd Division.
Formerly 9th and 10th Bns., King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Gateshead, Resident: Gateshead.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 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/500847/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Edwards registered in June quarter 1890 in Dudley.

1891 Census
1 Navigation Row, Tipton, Staffs.
William Edwards (32, Chain Maker, born Tipton), his wife Mary (26, born Tipton), and their son: James (11 months, born Tipton).

1901 Census
2 Grosvenor Street, Gateshead, Durham.
William Edwards (41, Chain Striker, born Tipton), his wife Mary (39, born Tipton), and their 3 children: James (11, born Tipton), Annie (6, born Gateshead), and Phoebe (4, born Gateshead).

Marriage of James Edwards and Mary Anne Wilson registered December quarter 1909 at Gateshead.

Birth of John Wilson Edwards registered March quarter 1910 (born 19 January) at Gateshead. There are possibly 4 further children: Samuel H.J. in 1912, Catherine in 1914, James in 1916 and Thomas W. in 1917.

1911 Census
2 Rhubarb Terrace, Gateshead, Durham.
James Edwards (20, Glassmaker’s Labourer, born Staffordshire), his wife Mary Ann (20, born Gateshead), and their son John (1, born Gateshead).

Marriage of Edward W. Johnson and Mary A. Edwards registered September quarter 1919 at Gateshead.

Edwards James Rhubard Terrace Courtesy of www.gatesheadhistory.com Reference No: GL005202.
Rear, 2-12, Rhubarb Terrace and 38-40, East Street, looking east. Demolished 1938.

Personal Data

Although James was born in Tipton, his family moved to Gateshead before he was 5 years old. It was in Gateshead that he was raised, was married, and became a father before becoming a soldier.

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/11/11d (3 pounds, 11 shillings and 11 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Mary A., in July 1918. His War Gratuity was £7/0/0d (7 pounds exactly), this was paid to James's widow in November 1919; she had by then re-married and was Mrs Mary A. Johnson. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in approximately September 1916.

Action resulting in his death

When the Germans launched their Spring Offensives on 21st March 1918, the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (2/KOYLI) was engaged in line holding near the Houthulst Forest, 7 miles to the north-east of Ypres.

The 2/KOYLI were part of 97th Brigade of the 32nd Division, and within a week the division had been brought down to support the British forces recently attacked near Arras. By this time, the German focus was moving further north towards French Flanders and 2/KOYLI avoided any German infantry attacks.

On the 2nd-3rd April, 32nd Division attacked the village of Ayette which had been recently captured by the Germans. During a surprise night assault, Battalions including the 2/KOYLI re-captured the village. Heavy losses were inflicted on the German forces holding the position, and almost 200 German prisoners were taken.

It is possible that James Edwards was wounded during this action, which was 11 days before his death. However there was regular German shelling, including gas, so it is impossible to be certain. James died in one of the base hospitals in Etaples, and he is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings