Monday, February 3, 2014

Private Edward Burston 1544

Edward Burston


I found two results for Edward Burston in the CWGC database. One had the full name Edward but was in the Devonshire Regiment and it stated that he was from Somerset. The other had only the initial E and was in the South Lancashire Regiment with no details as to where he lived.

It seemed likely that the second record was the correct Edward Burston. Cross referencing with the Soldiers Died in the Great War results from gave me further proof that this was the correct man. As you can see below the SDGW entry shows that this E Burston in the South Lancs was Edward and from Toxteth, Liverpool. I am happy that I have the correct soldier.

Family information:

Edward Burston was born December1894-January 1895 and registered in Liverpool. He was baptised on 6th Feb 1895 at St John the Baptist, Toxteth Park. His parents were Samuel Frederick Burston and Priscilla, Samuel was a labourer and they lived at 41 Gaskell St.

Edward's mother died in 1901. In the census that year Edward aged 6 and 3 of his brothers (William 11, James 8, John 3) were enumerated at the house of their uncle and aunt Charles and Julie Burston, 90 Stanhope St. His father and 3 further brothers (Thomas 19, Joseph 15, Frederick 13) were next-door at 92 Stanhope St.

The 1911 census return shows Edward with 3 of his brothers (Joseph, Jim and John) and his father. They were living at 8 Friendship Place, Hampton St. This may sound pleasant but I think it was court housing with a pretty name.

Military information:

Edward enlisted in the Territorial Force on 20th April 1912.  He was given the regimental number 1544 in the South Lancashire Regiment.
He was mobilized from the army reserve on 8th August 1914, embarked at Southampton on 4th December 1914 and was posted to the 2nd Bn South Lancashire Regiment  5th December 1914.

Some of Edward's paperwork survived (although damaged) in the National Archives. His attestation document shows that Edward was aged 17yrs 4months when he signed up in April 1912 for a period of 6 years. He had been working as a casual labourer and had a reference from his employer Mr J Hewitt of 22 Hampton Street.

Edward listed his next of kin as father Frederick and brothers Joseph, James and John all of 12 Court, 8 House Hampton St, Liverpool.

His medical report shows that Edward was examined on 19th April 1912 when he was 17yrs and 4 months old. He was 5ft 2 and 5/8 inches tall and weighed 121 lbs. His physical development was good and he had been vaccinated in infancy. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair. His distinguishing marks were ‘ a circular scar inside left shoulder blade, a scar small of back and a mole below left nipple.’

During his time in the army Edward may not have been the perfect soldier; in the few months he was in France, his record sheet shows several punishments. His conduct sheet has the following entries:
Wounded  23/1/15 the 'where' looks like 'Linden Hock'

Awarded 3days field punishment No2 for
“Irregular conduct on parade ie laughing on parade.”

Awarded 7 days field pun No2 for
“not complying with an order eg not carrying a wounded man’s equipment when ordered to do so by an officer” and  “Disobedience of battalion orders ie wearing gum boots on parade”

Awarded 3 days field punishment No2 for
“not being properly dressed on parade ie being deficient of a waterproof [sheet/shirt?]”

[Field punishment number 2 involved being shackled and handcuffed but not attached to anything and sometimes also hard labour.]

The papers also note that Edward "Died, from wounds received in action. Place: Kemmel" and was "buried in the cemetery north of the chateau, Kemmel." A later note shows that his body was exhumed and reburied in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.

Edward’s record also shows that he made an allotment of pay to his brother Frederick Samuel Burston of 112 Upper Essex St, Liverpool. His father had passed away in 1913. In 1920 Frederick completed Eligibility Forms for and listed Edward’s family as consisting of himself, two other brothers (John and James) and Thomas who was listed as a half-brother. Joseph and William were not mentioned.

The entry in UK SOLDIERS DIED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 shows the following:
  Edward Burston
Birth Place:
  Toxteth, Liverpool
Death Date:
  12 Mar 1915
Death Location:
  France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
  Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South      Lancashire Regiment)
  2nd Battalion
Type of Casualty:
  Died of wounds
Theatre of War:
  Western European Theatre

Edward’s medal card shows that he was a private, earned the Victory, British and 1915 Star medals and Died of Wounds 12th March 1915. It also shows that he fought in France, entering this 'theatre of war' on 5th December 1914.

Death and Commemoration

The date of Edward’s death places it at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and it is likely that he received his wounds on the opening day of the action, 10th March 1915.
You can read more about Neuve Chapelle here.

Private Edward Burston's body was exhumed from its original burial site and buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. This is about 8 miles from Ypres and holds 1131 casualties of WW1. 

Click here to see the record for Edward Burston on the CWGC.

Edward’s family informed the Liverpool Echo of his death and the following notice and photograph were printed on 6th April, you will see that it mentions St James’ Church. 

Edward’s name was placed on the St James Memorial but, with the loss of that memorial, he was not commemorated anywhere in Liverpool until 2012 when we had his name added to the Roll of Honour at Liverpool Town Hall.


Stephanie Tulej said...

I came across the blog by accident. Edward Burston was the cousin of my late mother, Lowina. he was killed the year before she was born. I knew nothing about him until I researched my Grandfather, Charles Warren Burston and found Edward and his family living with my Grandad and hos wife Julia. It was fascinating to read about Edward and his sacrifice and to see photographs of him. I can see a family resemblnce to my brother and great-nephew, so maybe something of Edward lives on! Stephanie Tulej

Amanda said...

Hi Stephanie, thanks for getting in touch, I'm glad you found the blog and that I could help you find out a bit more about Edward Burston. How wonderful that his story can be remembered and passed down through his family again. If you would like to get in touch with any questions you will find my email address on the contacts page. Amanda

Stephanie Tulej said...

Hi Amanda,
What happened to the St. Luke's memorial? How do you go about viewing the roll of honour?
Best wishes
Stephanie Tulej

Amanda said...

Hi Stephanie,
Do you mean St James' Memorial? it was stolen and presumed destroyed as a fragment of it is all we have left.
If you mean the Roll of Honour at the Town Hall it is actually a Hall of Remembrance and the roll is on panels on the walls, you can find information on visiting the Town Hall here I hope that helps answer your questions.