Topic: Edmund John Edwards

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Edmund John Edwards (Service Number 58661) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.


Edmund John was born on 14th December 1892 to father Edmund and mother Eunice Drusilla.

Eunice was the daughter of John and Hannah Nott originally from Worcester, England. They arrived in Canterbury in August 1874 on the Pleiades when Eunice was 10 years old.

Edmund senior arrived from Somerset aged 27 on the ship Isles of the South in November 1873. Edmund married Maria Millar in 1881 but was widowed in 1888. Their only child Amy also died in infancy.

Edmund senior married Eunice Drusilla in 1892. Edmund was a saddler by trade; he also made leather goods, particularly belts. Eunice’s father was a coach painter so the couple may have met through industry connections, or possibly through the Primitive Methodist Church.

Edmund senior and Eunice went on to have five children, three sons and two daughters.

Edmund senior seems to have lived within the four avenues throughout his life in Christchurch: Salisbury Street, Manchester Street and later at two addresses on Peterborough Street, first 9 Peterborough Street and later 216 Peterborough. During his first marriage, his home on Manchester Street was fire damaged with the kitchen and its furniture completely destroyed.

The Edwards children attended Christchurch East School. Edmund John left infant school for Christchurch East in 1901 and attended until 1906 when he left for work with the Post Office.

In 1911 Edmund John passed the Civil Service Senior Exams in three subjects.

Edmund John and his brother George Reginald both served in the First World War and enlisted from their home address at 216 Peterborough Street.

Edmund John was working as a clerk with the Post Office & Telegraph Department in Christchurch when he enlisted on May 16th 1917. He was also part of the Post Office & Telegraph Corp, a territorial cadet company formed in 1913 to specialize in transmitting service telegrams and postal services.

5 foot 9 inches with grey eyes and brown hair Edmund John was designated Class A in his medical examination although “somewhat anemic”.

Edmund John joined the 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment and was attached to the 32nd Specialists Signals Section. In November prior to leaving for overseas service Edmund John passed the prescribed tests, and was classified as a trained signaler and entitled to wear the efficiency badges.

He left on the Maunganui from Wellington on 21 of November 1917 and disembarked in Liverpool on the 8th of January 1918. Edmund John marched into Sling Camp on the Salisbury Plains the next day.

He was at Sling for several months and in May qualified as a First Class Signaler.

In June, Edmund John left for France marching into Étaples Camp on the 9th. He rejoined the 2ndBattalion Otago Regiment and was now posted to 10 Company.

In August he was admitted to hospital in the field with scabies, a common parasitic skin infection. His case was reasonably serious as he was transferred to No 3 General Hospital at Le Treport, 30 kilometers North-East of Dieppe. He was discharged back to base at Le Treport then returned to Étaples before rejoining his battalion in the field towards the end of September.

In March Edmund John was detached to the UK and Sling Camp.

On the 13th of July 1919 Edmund John married a Scottish lass Jane McDonald Gibson. The wedding took place in the parish of North Leith, Edinburgh; the groom was 26 and the bride 23. Quite where they met or how long they’d known each other is obscure.

In August Edmund John marched into Torquay near Plymouth where the New Zealand Discharge Camp was based. Just a few weeks later, on the 8th of September 1919, Edmund John embarked for New Zealand on the Ionic from Plymouth. The Ionic travelled with over 400 women and children onboard.  The newly wed Jane was one of them.

Edmund John was discharged from military service on the 23rd November 1919 and awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

He had served 1 year and 340 days abroad

The young couple settled in Christchurch initially and Edmund John continued working as a clerk.

A daughter Margaret was born (she later married John Robertson and had two children Barbara and Donald).

Edmund John and Jane moved to Wellington and Palmerston before returning to Christchurch. Living at Puriri Street in Riccarton, Edmond John was listed in the 1938 electoral rolls as a civil servant.

Later the Edwards family moved to Mirimar and Island Bay in Wellington. Edmund John and Jane moved to the Wairarapa for retirement. They settled at 49 Miro Street in Masterton.

Edmund senior died in 1926 and Eunice Drusilla in 1949. Edmund John’s sisters Sylvia Eunice and Alice Myra died unmarried in 1975 and 1977 respectively.

Edmund John died on 15th of November 1971. His service was held at the Wesley Church, and Edmund John is buried in the Masterton Servicemen’s Lawn Cemetery.

Jane died in Nelson 1980 in her 85th year.


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Edmund John Edwards

First Names:Edmund John
Last Name:Edwards