Edwin CURLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 2369
Unit: 2nd Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 31 March 1915
Age: 19 or 20 (based on marriage certificate)
Cemetery: La Laiterie Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium

 

Edwin had been born in the Crumpsall district of Manchester. It has not been possible to trace him on the 1901 Census return for England but it is known his family moved to the Stockport area at some point and lived at 79 Providence Street

The 2nd Battalion was one of the Regiment's two regular army units and was on garrison duty in Ireland when War was declared in August 1914. Edwin has a very low service number suggesting that he was either a regular or a very early volunteer who was assigned to the Battalion to replace casualties. He is known to have been in Stockport in late December when, on the 23rd, he married 18 year old Elsie Jackson at Christ Church, Heaton Norris.

The Battalion had gone on active service immediately was declared and was involved in hard fighting over the remaining months of 1914. It is possible that Edwin was wounded during this time and had returned home to recover but it seems more likely that he might have just finished his training and married Elsie just before going overseas. She went to live with his parents while he was probably and, no doubt, never saw him again.

Assuming that Edwin joined his Battalion in early 1915, then he found himself in the front line at a comparatively quiet time. The Western Front was already settling down into the stagnation of trench warfare. After a period in billets at Locre (10 kilometres south of Ypres), Edwin and his comrades went back into the front line, taking over a section of the trenches from a battalion of East Surreys.

The unit's War Diary contains no details of this tour of duty noting only that it finished on the 31st and they returned to Locre. Three men had been killed, including Edwin, and 18 wounded. All were probably casualties of shellfire.

In 1916, Else remarried, becoming Mrs Smithers and went to live at 5 Wharf Street, Heaton Norris. However, her happiness was to be short lived. Her new husband, Bryan Smithers, was killed on 27 October 1918. She married for a third time, only to die herself in 1932, aged 36.

   
           
   
     
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