Private Edward Sunderland
6th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. Service number 41382.
Edward was born in 1899 and his birth was registered in Bradford in the 1st quarter of that year. His mother was Mary Elizabeth Sunderland, father unknown. He was two years old in the 1901 census and living at 380, Heaton Road in Bradford, with his grandmother Mary A. Sunderland, mother Mary, uncle Harry and aunts Annie and Edith.
By the 1911 census Edward was 12 years old and still living at 380, Heaton Road in Bradford, with his mother Mary and his aunt Edith. He was a part time worker, attending school half days, and working half days as a doffer in a silk mill, which would almost certainly have been Manningham Mills (also known as Lister's Mill), the largest silk factory in the world and a huge employer of local people.
There's a possibility that Edward tried to enlist in the Lancashire Fusiliers in Bury (the details are very close) on 18th August 1915, but was discharged on 15th November, having made a mis-statement about his age. He had signed his name as 'Edwin' Sunderland, despite the form being filled out for Edward Sunderland?
His mothers name on the next of kin form (Army form B.2505) is given as Elizabeth Sunderland, living in Bradford. This is only a possible match and cannot be confirmed beyond all doubt.
Edward did enlist in Bradford on the 11th November 1916 at the age of 18 years, 7 months. In civilian life his occupation was an apprentice Joiner. He was 5 feet 5,1/4 inches tall and weighed 112 lbs, with a 34 inch chest. In the Training Reserve his service number was 38402.
In 1917 he was posted to the Training Reserve battalion at Rugeley Camp 23rd February and his Army service reckons from 19th February. He failed his trade test at Woolwich on 17th December.
Edward arrived in France on the 23rd of January 1918 and was posted to No. 7 Infantry Base Depot at Calais where he was transferred to the 6th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment on 26th January. He was later posted to 'C' Company on 8th February. His service number was now 41382. The 6th Battalion were part of the 110th Infantry Brigade and the 21st Division.
Between early February and March 1918 the 6th battalion were serving in the front line at Epéhy, then after being relieved by the 7th Leicestershire Regiment, they marched and entrained to Haut Allains for a period of rest, re-organisation and range firing followed by a battalion dinner, then they moved to Don Camp at Moslains for the Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haigh's inspection. There followed a period of working parties at Moisains and Lieramont where they were split into large groups of several hundred men carrying out tasks, then working parties at Saulcourt and Epéhy in battalion support before they relieved the 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in the front line on the 4th March 1918. On arrival, they had much work to do bringing the front line up to scratch again.
On the 6th March, Edward was admitted to WLFA (Field Ambulance) (next part illegible - Sea##s?) Field. and on the 7th March he was admitted to either 53 or 55 Casualty Clearing Station (difficult to read this).
Edward was killed in action at the age of 19, on 23rd October 1918. He was buried in grave 50 of row A at Ovillers New Communal Cemetery, Solesmes, Nord in France. His next of kin was recorded as Mrs. Mary E. Sunderland, of 126, Pearson Lane, Daisy Hill in Bradford. His total service was reckoned as 1 year 247 days.
We have not been able to find Edward's name on any war memorials, which is very sad since he gave his life in the war.
His Mother and Aunt:
His mother Mary received his personal effects of some letters, postcards and a photograph on 23rd May 1919 when she was still living at 380, Heaton Road.
On the 3rd December 1918 Edward's next of kin, blood relative Aunts and Uncles were listed as Harry Sunderland (41) of 133, Shakespeare Street, Stoke, Coventry and Annie Slingsby (39) of 1, Queen's Road, Shipley.
Edward was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service, which were received by his mother Mary on December 12th 1921. Memorial plaque received in July, although the year is unknown.
Mary and Annie lived at 29, Victoria Road (an alms house) until at least 1957 (according to the electoral rolls) when Mary was about 82 years old and Annie was 77.
These are the only death records we can find which match Mary and Annie's details:
Mary E Sunderland in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
Death Age: 81. Birth Date: abt 1875. Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar 1956
Registration District: Bradford, Yorkshire West Riding. Volume: 2b. Page: 256.
Annie Slingsby in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
Death Age: 76. Birth Date: abt 1880. Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar 1956
Registration District: Bradford, Yorkshire West Riding. Volume: 2b. Page: 102.
It's possible that Mary and Alice died within a few weeks of each other in early 1956, even though their names appear in the 1957 electoral roll. This assumes the electoral records offices weren't notified promptly about their deaths, resulting in their names staying in the records as registered voters, after their deaths.
England and Wales birth records
British Army Service Records
British Army Medal index card and medal rolls
Soldier's Effects records
The Commonweath War Graves Commission records
Soldiers Died in the Great War
West Yorkshire Electoral Rolls
England and Wales death records
National Archives - British Army war diary 6th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment - WO95/2164/1
Find out about Great War Memorial Plaques here...
We were given a WW1 memorial plaque to Edward Sunderland in September 2015 (pictured above) which from our research appears to be a unique name to this area and we are as sure as we can be this plaque is for the Edward Sunderland detailed above. The plaque was apparently found in a box of scrap brass fittings at a car boot sale in Bingley, which is just a few miles away from where 'our' Edward Sunderland lived.
Edward Sunderland is not from our area which covers Keighley and the Worth Valley. However, on receiving his war memorial plaque we felt we should look at least into his story and once we realised there were probably no family members left alive and he is not named on any local war memorial (as far as we can tell) and has no known grave, we had to ensure that for a while at least, he is remembered by someone. This poor lad's existence has almost been forgotten by all, apart from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.