Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 13160
Unit: 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
Date of Death: 27 June 1916
Age: 29
Cemetery: Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt, Somme, France

Edwin was born in Macclesfield and, around the beginning of the 20th century, the family name appears to have been spelt Wildig or Willdig. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at Culcheth, east of Warrington. Charles Willdig earned his living as a colliery labourer. Edwin, then aged 13, was his eldest child and he was already working as a scavenger in a cotton mill.

At some point, Edwin married and lived with his wife and four children at 17 Old Garden, Stockport. Before he enlisted into the army on 16 December 1914, he worked locally for the Cornbrook Chemical Company, 60 Millgate.  Edwin travelled to Ashton under Lyne to join up.

The 10th Battalion went overseas in the summer of 1915. By late June 1916, preparations were well under way for the forthcoming "big push" which would later be designated as the Battle of the Somme. On 24th June, the Fusiliers were in trenches opposite the village of Fricourt in the southern part of the expected battlefield. The day saw the opening of the British artillery barrage that was designed to destroy the German defences. The bombardment would continue until 1 July when the infantry "went over the top". The Fusiliers' War Diary records that there was "a practically continuous bombardment of the enemy by our artillery.....Enemy replied with machine gun fire at night and a very (illegible) shelling of our trenches." 

There is no daily record of casualties but the Diary does note "that they were not greater was due to the excellent trenches and dug-outs and also the large extent of front held."  However, even the best of trench dug-outs could not protect against a direct hit. Edwin's officer later wrote to Mrs Wildig "Your husband and another man were killed instantly by a big shell falling into his dugout. He was one of the best bombers in the Battalion and we are all sorry to lose him". In fact, 23 members of the Battalion had been killed during this single day.

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