Edward was one of three brothers to serve during the War. His younger brother, Charles, died in 1918. The oldest brother, Joseph, is believed to have survived.
Today it is difficult to comprehend the devastation that their parents, Joseph and Annie, must have felt, but to lose two sons was not at all uncommon. The family had previously lived at 26 Longton Street in the Portwood area of Stockport but, by the time of the Great War, had moved to 5 Barlow Row, off Hillgate.
When Edward enlisted into the army at Ashton under Lyne, his service number (2312) suggests he had joined one of the Territorial Battalions of the Manchester Regiment. Many of these recruits worked in the city centre of Manchester. The name of E Timms is listed as an employee of Claus and Co in the Company's entry in the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour. The Company is believed to have been involved in the bleaching and dyeing of cotton and this may be our soldier.
Edward is known to have served abroad with the Manchesters and will, almost certainly, have seen service at Gallipoli although his service number might suggest he was not one of the original members of the Expeditionary Force and may have joined later as a replacement for casualties. At some point, he was transferred to the Fusiliers. This was, probably, after recovery from wounds or a lengthy period of illness. When he was fit enough to return, it will have been the case that the Fusiliers were in greater need of replacements.
By November 1916, the Battle of the Somme was coming to an end. It had started on 1 July and, in a series of bloody attacks, the British army had advanced its position. Conditions had become appalling but small scale attacks were still taking place as recounted by the Regimental History:-
"On 3rd November, the Battalion was ordered to attack a portion of the German trenches near Gueudecourt and to establish certain posts. "D" Company with two squads of the Battalion bombing platoon was to make a frontal attack while a platoon of "C" was to move by a flank, the whole supported by artillery and machine guns. Mud prevented "D" making any headway. It was waist high and some men were stuck in it for a complete day and then had to be pulled out often leaving their boots, socks and trousers in it. The platoon of "C" tried to advance over the open and were an easy target for the enemy's machine guns and shrapnel barrage. The Germans retaliated by delivering an unsuccessful attack on one of the Battalion's bombing posts"
Perhaps, under the circumstances, the Fusiliers will have considered themselves fortunate to have only suffered six fatalities during the day.