Henry EDGE
Rank: Gunner
Number: 131613
Unit: A Battery, 88th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 13 November 1916
Age: 28
Cemetery: Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boiselle, Somme, France

It cannot be said with absolute certainty that Henry’s parents were Richard and Charlotte Edge but an examination of the 1901 Census suggests that they most probably were. Richard Edge was a 50 year old bleach worker living in the Shaw Heath area of Stockport with Charlotte and their nine children. They had a young son called Henry who would have been 28 in 1916.

It is known that Henry Edge later worked as a clerk for the Refuge Assurance Company at its offices in Manchester. In the late autumn of 1915, he married Lizzie Whithorn in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport and they lived together at 1 Boothby Street, Great Moor. In May 1916, Henry joined the army at Stockport and was assigned to the artillery. After training, he will have gone overseas in late summer and cannot have been at the front for very long when he was fatally wounded.

Henry is known to have died from wounds, rather than being killed outright, but his burial close to where the front line would have been suggests that he died before he could be evacuated to a field hospital. That would probably mean he was injured on the 12th or 13th of November. By this time, the Battle of the Somme which had started on 1 July was drawing to a close. In preparation for a final assault, scheduled for the 13th, the artillery started to pound the German trenches from 5.30am on the 11th. The Brigade’s War Diary, held at the National Archives, records that the bombardment was very effective and there was little retaliation from the Germans. The bombardment continued throughout the night and into the next day. Later in the day, the enemy heavy artillery did retaliate and this may be when Henry was wounded.

At 5.45am on the 13th, the Brigade opened its barrage as planned to support the infantry. The bombardment slowly rolled across No Man’s Land and the infantry would keep as close behind it as possible. The infantry attack was completely successful as the Germans had thought this was just another early morning’s bombardment which would stop in a little while.

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