Sergeant William Edwards
1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers
Died 12 July 1915
Sergeant 4003, William Edwards served with the 1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He was born at Marloes in Pembrokeshire, the son of Thomas Edwards (a blacksmith) and his wife Eliza. William married Margaret Nicholson Inglis in 1896. The Edwards’ had three children, Edwin, Annie and Ruby. Prior to enlisting in the army at Wigtown the Edwards family lived at Bladnoch with William working as a margarine maker the Creamery.
On 24 May the 1st/5th Battalion sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, landing there on 6th June. Barely a month after landing, on 12 July, Sergeant Edwards, aged 46, was dead. The Galloway Gazette published the text of a letter sent to Mrs Edwards from a Lieutenant Salmond:
Dardanelles, 18th July 1915
Dear Mrs Edwards – Kindly allow me to express to you and your family my sense of deepest sympathy in the great loss you have suffered. Your husband was my platoon sergeant, and I miss him very, very much; but, of course, my loss in incomparable to yours. He was one of the finest non-commissioned officers in the battalion – loved and respected by all who knew him. I have sent in his name to my superior officers in order that some mark of distinction may be awarded in recognition of his gallant and faithful work, in the discharge of which he met his death, and I trust my application may be successful. May you be given strength to bear up under your great affliction. With deepest and kind regards – I remain,
Yours sincerely (signed)
Lieut 1-5th KOSB
Sergeant Edwards died fighting in the Gallipoli campaign. A good number of Wigtown soldiers fought at Gallipoli, one of the British army’s greatest disasters. Brilliant in concept it turned into a classic example of muddle and miscalculation. Of the 489,000 Allied soldiers involved, just over half became casualties, many from disease. Although British, Australian, New Zealand and French troops managed to land the troops failed to penetrate inland and were pinned down on the beaches by resolute Turkish defence. The troops showed outstanding courage and were to be later withdrawn.
Like many of those killed at Gallipoli, William Edwards’ body was not found and so is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, which bears more than 21,000 names. William is also remembered on the family headstone (right) in Wigtown’s High Cemetery.