Edward Wareham FOWLER
Rank: Lieutenant
Date of Death: 15 July 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Edward's connection with the local area is through his business interests. He was a senior employee of the Hyde envelope manufacturing firm, Jacobsen, Welch & Co and, when in the area,  would lodge at an address in Maple.

Born on 20 October 1890, he was the eldest son of retired licensed victualler, Edward Fowler and his wife Elizabeth and was born and raised in the Marylebone area of London. The 1901 Census confirms that the family enjoyed all the trappings of a very successful middle class family -including the employment of three live-in servants (a cook, lady's help and housemaid). Edward's service file still exists at the National Archives but there is little more to glean from it that will tell the reader about him, other than it gives his height as 5' 10". The family home was at 47 Avenue Road, near Regent's Park in London.

He had been a member of the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps before the War and applied to become a commissioned officer on 4 December 1914. He was assigned to the 1/7th Warwickshires - a Territorial battalion based in Coventry and Leamington Spa - and will have gone overseas with it in the late spring of 1915.

1 July 1916 saw the opening day of the Battle of the Somme and Edward and his men were involved south east of the village of Hebuterne. On the 14th, they were back in action, attacking German positions at Ovillers. They took their objective and held it for seven hours but, eventually, heavy enfilade fire forced them to withdraw.

The next morning preparations were made to renew the attack. A patrol had gone out into No Man's Land during the night to try and establish the exact positions held by the enemy. The Battalion's War Diary, at the National Achives, describes what happened next:

"During the afternoon we received orders to attack and take enemy's positions on opposite ridge. At 8.30pm, 2 platoons of "C" Company under Lt E W Fowler proceeded in two parties to attack. They had scarcely left our trenches when a heavy fire from hostile machine guns was opened on them. This fire was so terrific that only the first leading men were able to leave the trench and these were promptly mown down. Lt E W Fowler was killed."

Edward's body was never recovered and identified.

Edward was engaged to be married and, when his affairs were settled, his estate was valued at £1530 (based on the increase in average earnings, this would represent over £400,000 today). There was a further life insurance policy of £1052 (£275,000) which he left to his fiancée.

Edward's employer, Stanley Welch, was Mayor of Hyde between 1914 and 1916 and he and his partner, Owen Jacobsen, were significant contributors towards the wooden panels which form the War Memorial at Hyde Town Hall. It is not surprising that they arranged for Edward's name to be included. Presumably, they were also instrumental in arranging for his commemoration on the Marple War Memorial.

Further information about Edward, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

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