681679 DVR. J. T. EDWARDS. R.F.A.
Joseph Thomas Edwards was born on 11 July 1896 in Everton and baptised at Woolton St. Peter’s on 27 July. His father was John Monck Edwards (b. 1852 in Liverpool), a dock labourer. His mother was Hannah Amelia (known as Amelia) Gibbons (b. 1855 in West Derby). John and Amelia were married in 1872. The 1911 Census says they had 13 children but lost two in infancy, but I have only been able to trace 10 of them: Elizabeth (b. 1874), Amelia (b. 1877), John (b. 1880), George (b. 1885), William (b. 1887), James (b. 1889), Fanny (b. 1891), Evelyn (b. 1894), then Joseph, and finally Frederick (b. 1900). In 1911, John and Amelia were living with four of their children – Fanny, Evelyn, Joseph and Frederick – at 39 Chambers Street, Everton. Joe was 14 and had started work as an errand boy in a grocer’s shop.
Joe enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, probably in 1915, and he was assigned service number 681679. He was posted to 286 Brigade and almost certainly served in “D” Battery, along with other recruits from Liverpool. He landed in France in February 1917 (incidentally, his father died shortly after this, on 12 March 1917) and Joe then served in the defence of Armentières in the early part of the year and later in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918, he fought during the Battle of the Lys and later in the final advance in Flanders, including the capture of Cambrai in October.
Joe died on 11 February 1919, aged 22, and his headstone provides us with the detail that he died whilst at home on leave. It seems likely that he died of influenza.
Service No: 681679
Date of Death: 11/02/1919
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “D” Bty., 286th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: XIII. C.E. 814.
Cemetery/Memorial: LIVERPOOL (KIRKDALE) CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Hannah A. Edwards, of 29 Rubens Street, Everton, Liverpool, and the late J. Edwards.