FREDERICK SYLVESTER EDWARDS

Private, G/1302, 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action near Béthune, Pas-de-Calais, France, 9 May 2015, aged 21
No known grave. Commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, Panel 20 and 21.

Le Touret Memorial

Frederick Sylvester Edwards was born in Hartfield on 8 May 1894, the son of Sylvester (b.1859) and Sarah Ann (née Weeding) (b.1865) Edwards. Sarah Ann Weeding was listed as a servant in the 1881 census. In 1884 she married Sylvester Edwards at Withyham parish church. In 1881 Sylvester was recorded as a labourer and in 1891 as a railway platelayer. By 1911 he was a farmer at Little Reeds Farm, Hartfield.

Frederick lived at Little Reeds Farm, and his pre-war occupation was gardener. He enlisted in September 1914 at Tunbridge Wells.

Frederick was killed in action on Sunday, 9 May 1915, near Le Touret, Béthune, in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, the day after his 21st birthday.

The 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment was involved in the attack at Richebourg L'Avoué, which lies beyond Le Touret seven miles north-east of Béthune, on 8 May 1915. The bombardment commenced at 5 am. It is not known which company or platoon Frederick Edwards was assigned to but 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' Companies all went "over the top" that morning.

The assault had commenced at 5.30 a.m. but the regiment was unable to make any progress and was halted by the unbroken German wire. The order to withdraw was given at 6.30 a.m., but many dead and wounded still lay out in the open. The 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment lost 14 officers and 548 other ranks killed, wounded and missing.

Fredrick Sylvester Edwards has no known grave and is listed on Le Touret Memorial, Panel 20 and 21, and on Hartfield war memorial.

Carol O'Driscoll