Edward Wardle, Gunner 103019, 177th Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery
Killed in action 14th August 1918 in Belgium, aged 37
Edward Wardle was baptised at St Michael’s Church on 2 October 1881, the youngest son of Jane and Edward Wardle, a wood-sawyer of Macclesfield. In 1891, nine-year-old Edward was living at 22 Brock Street with his parents and sisters Elizabeth (18) and Ellen (14). By 1901, nineteen-year-old Edward had left home and was living at Bloomfield Farm, Henbury, near Macclesfield, where he was employed as a cattleman.
On 31 August 1903 Edward married Sarah Jane Leech at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield. The marriage was witnessed by Edward’s older brothers, William Henry and Joseph Peter Wardle.
Edward and his family moved to Cumberland around 1904, and in 1911 they were living at Holmrook, Hall Senna, Cumberland (between Gosforth and Ravenglass). Edward was employed as a gamekeeper by a pheasant rearer, probably at Muncaster Castle, and had four children: James Henry (7), Fred (5), Annie (3) and five-month-old William.
Edward’s wife later moved to 15 Killington St, Briercliffe Rd, Burnley.
Edward attested at Whitehaven on 27 November 1915 and was mobilised on 31 May 1916. He was described as 5 feet 6¾ inches tall, with a 34 inch chest. After training, Edward was drafted overseas on 3 October 1916, travelling via Folkestone and Boulogne.
On 15 February 1917, Edward spent three days in hospital as a result of a foreign body in the eye. Ten days later he was sent to No 37 Casualty Clearing Station, who diagnosed pleurisy and sent him to No 16 General Hospital at Le Treport, France. Ten days later Edward was sent back to England on the hospital ship Panama, and treated at Huddersfield War Hospital from 12 March until 21 May 1917.
After recovery, Edward was again drafted overseas on 20 November 1917. He served with several Siege Batteries including Numbers 186, 191 and 136 before joining Number 177 Siege Battery on 22 May 1918. Edward was killed in action on 14 August 1918 near Ljissenhoek.
Gunner Wardle’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 8 November 1918:
GUNNER E WARDLE, Royal Field Artillery, whose wife resides at Brankinwall, Muncaster, was killed in France on August 14th. Gunner Wardle was a native of Macclesfield and a brother of Mr J P Wardle of 88 Oxford Road. He was formerly a gamekeeper at Thornycroft Hall, and 14 years ago went to Cumberland. Later he became head gamekeeper on the Muncaster Castle estate. Gunner Wardle was 37 years of age, and leaves a widow and five children. He was educated at Mill Street School.
Gunner Edward Wardle is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium, in grave ref. XXIV. A. 21A. His widow asked for the inscription “THY WILL BE DONE GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN TO GIVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Gunner Edward Wardle, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Gunner Edward Wardle is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials. Elsewhere, he is commemorated on the Muncaster war memorial, in the parish church in the grounds of Muncaster Castle.
Uncle of George Wardle, who served as Private 1539 with the 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment and was killed in action on 25th August 1915 at Gallipoli, Turkey.
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920 (Find My Past)
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website