Edgar Wilson
Rank: Private
Number: 12487
Unit: 19th Battalion Manchester Regiment
Date of Death: 3 November 1916
Age: 29
Cemetery: Stockport Borough Cemetery

Edgar was born in Stockport, the son of a local policeman, Robert Wilson and his wife Mary. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 60 Churchgate (later moving to 72 Grenville Street). Edgar was then 14 and had three brothers - Frederick (21), Walter (16) and John (7). When he left school, he went to work at the cocoa works of H Faulder & Co Ltd on warren Street in Portwood.

In 1911, he emigrated to America and lived in Pennsylvania but returned when War was declared in August 1914. It's thought he'd arrived back in Britain by early Septmeber and immediately joined the fourth of the "Pals" battalions being fomed by the Manchester Regiment in the city. He was assigned to No. 14 Platoon in "D" Company. Click here for some details of their recruitment and training.

In November 1915, the Pals were deemed ready for active service and left for France. Edgar will have taken part in the attack on 1 July - the first day of the Battle of the Somme. A week later, on the evening of the 7th, Edgar and his comrades returned to the trenches. They were to be held in reserve for an attack the next day on German positions at Trones Wood that would be carried out by other battalions of their Brigade.

At 11am on the 8th, the Pals moved forward to take up a position of close support for the 2nd Wiltshires. "A" and "C" Companies took the more forward positions, with "B" and "D" in a sunken road near at the Briqueterie (brickworks).

Edgar and the others of "D" Company remained in the sunken road until 3.15pm, when they were ordered forward to reinforce the Wiltshires. In fact, the position where they dug in was in front of the Wiltshires facing north across the south end of the Wood, in a very exposed spot. At 4am on the 9th, they were shelled very heavily and this continued intermittently until they were relieved at 1.30pm.

During the operation, 13 men had been killed and another 44 wounded. Edgar was reported to have been amongst those wounded, by the explosion of a shell, on the 9th. He will have received treatment from the Battalion's medical officer just behind the front line and then been evacuated to a field hospital some miles behind the front line, where surgeons will have operated to stabilise his condition. Edgar may then have spent some time at a military hospital in France but may have been sent back to the UK as soon as he was fit to travel. His condition did not improve significantly and he died at a Western General Hospital, Fazackerly, Liverpool, nearly four months later.

Edgar's body was brought back to Stockport and he was buried on 8 November. The funeral was conducted with full military honours. His coffin was covered with the Union Jack and an accompanying escort of soldiers carried their rifles in reversed position. Volleys of shots were fired over his grave and the "Last Post" was sounded by a bugler.

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