RFA West Lancs Bdes
680074 SJT. J. H. EDMONDSON. R.F.A.
John Henry Edmondson (in earlier records the family name is sometimes spelled Edmundson) was born in August 1887 in Preston and baptised at Preston St John on 21 August. He was the oldest child of Robert Edmondson (b. 1866 in Preston), a general labourer, and Elizabeth Hankins (b. 1867 in Stockport). Robert and Elzabeth were married in April 1887. John was born later that summer and the couple went on to have 8 more children: Robert (b. 1889), Martha (b. 1890), Edward (b. 1893), George (b. 1895), James (b. 1898), Mabel (b. 1900), Alfred (b. 1902) and finally Annie (b. 1907). Around the turn of the century, the family lived in Liverpool, where Robert worked on the docks, but around 1905 the family moved to Lancaster. In 1911, they were living at 7 Anchor Lane, Market Street, Lancaster, where Robert had found work with the corporation and John was working as a general labourer/assistant printer in a linoleum factory. Just after the Census was taken, in October 1911, John married Elizabeth Seward (b. 1886 in Lancaster), a general domestic servant. In 1912, they had a daughter, Edith.
John must have served in the Territorials before the War and he was originally assigned service number 817. He enlisted in Lancaster and was later given the new-style service number 680074. He was promoted to Serjeant and posted to “B” Battery of 276 Brigade. He landed with his Division in France on 30 September 1915.
55th (West Lancashire) Division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy (on the Somme) in September 1916, suffering severe losses especially at Guillemont. They also fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval later that month, and then in October 1916 they were moved to the Ypres Salient, at the time a relatively quieter part of the front. Although there were no major engagements in early 1917, there was constant harassment, shelling and raids.
In January 1917, 55th Division were first in reserve at Houtkerque, on the French/Belgian border, and then, on 25 January, they were moved up to support the defence of Ypres. In March 1917, 276 Brigade were engaged in the bombardment of St. Julien (Sint Juliaan) in retaliation for German shelling of St Jean. 5 men from 276 Brigade were killed during the period 3-9 March. John Edmondson was among the dead. He was 29 years old.
Service No: 680074
Date of Death: 03/03/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 276th Bde.
Grave Reference: V. L. 14.
Cemetery: VLAMERTINGHE MILITARY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Husband of Rebecca Edmondson, of 15 Salisbury Road, Marsh, Lancaster.
John’s wife, Elizabeth died in 1927, when their daughter Edith was only 15. Edith, however, married in 1938 and died in 1994, aged 81.