Thirty two men from 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment were killed on the opening day of the Battle Passchendaele – 3rd Battle of Ypres. A recent visitor to the site is related to Corporal 9470 Edmund Kane and this blog entry commemorates Edmund and the other men that fell on that day.
Edmund was born in south Manchester in the first Quarter of 1893. His parents were William and Mary Jane Kane. William worked in an engineering works in 1901 and the family lived at 5 Baxter Street, Hulme. Mary Jane had been born in Canada and at least eleven children identified on Census records. Edmund was her second eldest son. She had been widowed by the time of the 1911 Census, when Edmund was working as a call boy in a theatre. The family then lived at 31 Leaf Street, Hulme. The Manchester Evening News of 24 August 1917 reported Edmund had attended St Wilfred’s School.
Based on the sequence of Edmund’s Regimental Number it is thought he enlisted in the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment during the spring of 1915. He was initially posted to XIX Platoon of E (Reserve) Company, although he will have probably have transferred to A, B, C or D Companies before they left for Belton Park in April 1915. This transfer may have been later.
It is unlikely that Edmund had remained with 17th Battalion since their arrival in France on 8th November 1915, yet no records of wounds or illness have been identified. Medal records illustrate three postings in 17th, 19th and 17th Battalions, indicating two occasions where Edmund may have been wounded. Very few of the original members will have remained at duty by July 1917.
Edmund was killed in action near Sanctuary Wood on 31st July 1917, which was the opening day of the Battle of Passchendaele. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.
Mary Jane Kane received her sons Effects. Edmund’s medals were returned to the War Office, with a slight prospect that these may now be claimed by family members.