Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zillebeke

Stanley Gilbert Edwards (1889 - 1917) was my husband's great grand uncle. He was the eighth of ten children of Francis Gilbart Edwards (1848 - 1913) and Caroline Edwards née Ralph (1850 - 1896).

He was born in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne and was educated at the local State School.

Stanley enlisted on 21 March 1916, giving his occupation as asphalter. He was twenty-six years old, five feet three inches, with grey eyes and brown hair.  He was assigned to the 22nd Battalion 14th Reinforcements.

When he enlisted Stanley Edwards was unmarried, but before his departure from Australia he married Alice Louise Wilson (1892 - 1964).

Stanley Edwards
Stanley Edwards - image uploaded to ancestry.com by a relative of his wife


On 28 July 1916 Edwards sailed with his unit from Melbourne on HMAT A32 Themistocles.

On 4 December 1916 he joined the 22nd Battalion in France.

In February 1917 he was hospitalised with synovitis to his right knee. His dossier notes that a certificate was issued that the "soldier was not to blame". He rejoined his unit in April 1917 from Rouen Hospital.

Stanley Edwards was killed with seven other men on 21 September 1917 by a high explosive (H. E.) shell. On 21 September his battalion was at Westhoek near Ypres on the front line.

After the war a cross with his name on it was found at Zillebeke four kilometres south-east of Ypres. The War Graves Commission found no remains there. His name is one of 54,399 names on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres .

StanleyEdwardsCross
Stanley Edwards's Cross - image uploaded to ancestry.com by a relative of his wife


Three more crosses were found at Zillebeke for:
Private Frank Dawson Pridham and Sergeant John Charles Bailes were both from the 22nd Battalion and both died that day. They are both listed on the Menin Gate Memorial. Bailes was initially buried at Polygon Wood but it seems likely that he was killed by the same shell as he was reported as being killed at the same time as Corporal Gay. From the description on the Red Cross file, Pridham's death may have been from a separate shell.



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