Edward BURNS
Rank: Private
Number: 155788
Unit: 589th Company LABOUR CORPS (CHESHIRE on mem)
Date of Death: 4 March 1919
Age: 51
Cemetery: Greenwich Cemetery, London

Edward's inscription on the Stockport War Memorial is amongst those who served with the Cheshire Regiment. Although he was an ex-regular soldier with the Cheshires, and had seen action with them in the Boer War, he is not thought to have served with the Regiment during the Great War.

Very little is known about his early life. His father was called John, but he had died by the time of the Great War and it is known he had a brother called James. The family home was at 16 Adlington Square in Stockport.

After War was declared, Edward re-enlisted, joining a Territorial Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. His service number, 2876, suggests he joined up towards the end of 1914 or early 1915 and served overseas with the Battalion for about 12 months. He was then transferred home and spent some time attached to a training centre for the Manchesters before being transferred to a similar unit of the Middlesex Regiment. This may have been around mid-1916 when the 29th (Works) Battalion of the Regiment was formed (mainly of men not deemed sufficiently fit for the rigours of overseas service). Edward is known to have been attached to this Battalion and had the service number 83494. In April 1917, it was transferred to the newly formed Labour Corps and would remain in the UK for the duration of the War. Edward will have died of natural causes or as a result of an accident whilst still in service.

It was the practice of the War Office to pay for funerals in the UK for burials near to where a man died, but the family would have had to pay to bring Edward's body back to Stockport. They must have decided not to, although James Burns did travel to Greenwich for the funeral which was conducted with full military honours.

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