Private Edward Seaborn – 17th Manchesters. Missing presumed dead 99 years ago today

Edward Seaborn had married his wife Clara (nee Royle) at Openshaw Wesleyan Chapel  on 26th May 1896 and the couple had an elder daughter, Ethel [Emily?] and two sons, Frank & George.  The family lived at 45 Dunkirk Street, Droylesden when Edward enlisted on 20th July 1915.  Edward was 38 years and 3 months old and left his civilian employment as a sugar boiler. His Attestation Form indicates he enlisted in the Manchester Regiment for Home Service.  He enlisted at the Town Hall in Ashton under Lyne, which was the home of the Regiment Headquarters.  The Town Hall now provides the Museum of the Manchester Regiment.

Edward was posted as Private 27606 in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, which was charged with manning the Humber defences at Cleethorpes.  He was promoted unpaid Lance Corporal on 1st February 1916 and Paid for this Rank on 21st April.  On 1st April 1916 there had been a fatal Zeppelin Raid on a Chapel in Cleethorpes.  Thirty Two members of 3rd Battalion were killed; leading to the conclusion that Home Service wasn’t necessarily safe.

At the outset of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, many men were called up from the Reserve Battalions and Home Service Units to provide drafts of men to replace the horrific casualties at the Western Front.  Edward arrived in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 8th July 1916.  He was posted to the 17th Battalion on 10th July, which was one of the days when a draft of numerous men were introduced to the Battalion; following the actions at Montauban and Trones Wood.  Many men arrived from Manchester and the north west; although a large number were posted from other Regiments, notably the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

As a member of the 17th Manchesters, Edward is likely to have served in the assaults on Guillemont and later Flers.  Edward had trained as a bomber and may have been present in the during the bombing attack on the German position at the quarry at Guillemont, led by Captain Fearenside.

The Battle of the Somme ground to a halt in November 1916, as the mud and cold prevented any large scale tactical movement.  In early 1917 the Germans were making a tactical withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line and the 17th Battalion were at the Front near Arras.  On the 23rd April, a large scale assault was made on the German positions near Heninel.  In common with many members of the Battalion, Edward was posted Missing and later presumed dead.  He has no known resting place and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.  His name is also included on the Droylsden War Memorial.

Clara received back pay of £3 and War Gratuity of £10.  A Pension of £13 9S was awarded in 1917.

It’s been a pleasure to pull these notes together for Edward’s great Grandson.  Edward was one of numerous casualties for the Manchester Pals; and each man had their own life history.  As a father of three, Edward left a legacy and provides a good example of a middle aged family man who answered the Nation’s call to arms and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remembered by his Great Grandson Allan Seaborn and not forgotten on this site 99 years after his death.

Sources include Medal Roll, Index Card, Soldiers Effects, Service Record, SDGW & CWGC. Acknowledge help and support from Manchesters Forum. No Obituary found in Newspaper Archive.

1 thought on “Private Edward Seaborn – 17th Manchesters. Missing presumed dead 99 years ago today

  1. Allan Seaborn

    I have a second relative who died as a result of injuries received during the First World War and wonder if there is any further information about him. His name was William Brooks who was in the Cheshire Regiment and who is buried in France. He lived on Godley Hill, Godley, Hyde, Cheshire. He was my mothers uncle.


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