Gunner Edward Lewis of All Stretton
Gunner [Thomas] Edward Lewis of All Stretton, died 8 October 1918 in France, aged 24.
Edward Lewis was born on 24 January 1894, the son of Edward and Rosa Hannah Lewis, the third in a family of 9 children born between 1890 and 1910. Edward gave his birth place as Shifnal on his enlistment papers and his name as Edward – the 1901 census lists him as Thomas E Lewis and his birth place as ‘Backton Heath’, Shropshire.
Edward’s father describes himself as a self-employed joiner on the 1911 census when the family were living at Plush Hill. Judging by the birth places of the children the family had lived in Shrewsbury, Shifnal, Llanidloes, Albrighton, and Wolverhampton before they settled in All Stretton around 1907.
Fortunately Edward’s service records have survived so we are able to build up a detailed picture of his service in the army. He enlisted in the Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery, 54th Brigade, A/108th Battalion on 12 August 2014 (just 8 days after war was declared) at Shrewsbury, with a service number of 80570 for ‘three years or the duration of the war’.
He is described as 5 feet 8½ inches, weighing 143 lbs with a chest measurement of 38½ inches, a fresh complexion, and brown hair and eyes. His religion was Church of England, and he had been a groom before enlisting, which perhaps explains why he chose to join the Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery.
Edward’s military career included a number of minor offences for which he was confined to barracks. The regiment was based in Dundalk from 1914 to 1915 and in July 1915 the Brigade sailed for Egypt and then was part of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. On 15 August 1915 Edward was invalided to England on board the Hospital Ship Asturias following an accident whilst embarking on the “Japanese Prince” which was to sail the following day for Lemnas [Lemnos, Greece?] Harbour. He was rendered unconscious when he slipped and fell into the hold at about 7.30 pm when the hatch covers were open and the lights were out, it was further stated that he was not drunk.
On 20 October 1915 he was posted to the Expeditionary Force, in France. On 7 October 1916 he was transferred to C Battery, 108th Brigade, RPA, which was renamed A Battery later that month. Edward was wounded on 31 May 1917, and was admitted to hospital with shell burns to his back, face and both arms. He was then invalided back to England on 10 June 1917 on board the Hospital Ship Andrew.
He returned to France on 16 November 1917, where he was again wounded by a gas shell, and moved back to base again within France on the 28 April 1918, and transferred to A Battery of the 210th Brigade on 9 May 1918. Wounded for the third time he eventually died of his injuries on 8 October 1918 at a Casualty Clearing Station in France. He had almost survived until the end of the war a little over a month later.
He was awarded three medals:
- British War Medal
- 1914-15 Star
- Victory Medal
These were donated to the All Stretton History Group together with the Memorial Plaque by members of the family.
Edward is buried at the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road Cemetery on the Somme in Northern France. The cemetery contains 1,838 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War.