When the 1901 Census was taken, John and Sarah Norbury and their two children, Mary and Edwin, were living at Catch Penny Lane, Lower Withington, Cheshire. John was working as a under gardener. This was, no doubt, at Withington Hall, the home of the Baskervyle-Glegg family. Mary and Edwin had both been born there but, by the time of the Great War, the family had moved to 23 Alldis Street, Mile End, Stockport.
Nothing is known of Edwin life’s except that he was working for Manchester Corporation Tramways Department when he joined the army, probably as a conscript in 1916 when he became 18.
The 19th Battalion was a unit of Pioneers – soldiers trained to fight but whose main duty was in the construction of defences. After a few days resting in the reserve area, the Battalion move forward on 7 July 1917 to new bivouac sites near the village of Epehy (about 35 kilometres north east of the town of Peronne). The Battalion History notes that the weather was fine until about 2.30am on the 8th. “Then a heavy thunderstorm broke out and the troops were soaked before the bivouacs were completed.”
Over the next few days, the troops undertook various construction tasks. Edwin was almost certainly a member of “W” Company and was helping to dig a communication trench between two points known as Bird Lane and Bird Post. On the evening of the 12th the “enemy opened concentrated bombardment along Bird Walk and Bird Cage. One platoon of “W” moved up to reinforce the garrison holding the post. The remainder under Captain J B Craggs and 2nd Lieutenant W E Hicks stood to in the communication trench. The enemy attempted a determined raid but withdrew under our fire. The bombardment was renewed and lasted until 1.15am. No. 2 Platoon remained with the garrison until it was reorganised and until assured that the attack would not be renewed…..The following casualties occurred in the Pioneers – killed 6 Other Ranks, wounded 23 Other Ranks. Wounded “at duty” 11 Other Ranks. 6 Other Ranks died later in hospital.”