Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Friday, 8 May 2015




Private 17984

1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment

Killed in action - 8th May 1915

Edward Henry Burton was born in late 1883/early 1884 in New Whittington, Chesterfield.  The son of Edward and Susannah Burton. 

St Bartholmew's Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield

Edward was baptised at St Bartholomew's   Church, New Whittington on 14th February 1884.


He was the fifth child to be born to Edward and Susannah; he had two elder brothers named David and Herbert, and two elder sisters named Lavina Annie and Sarah Jane.


The birth of baby Edward was tinged with sadness for the Burton family; whilst Edward was still a babe in arms his elder sister Sarah Jane passed away on 20th January 1884 and was buried days later on 26th January 1884.  She was aged only 18 months old.  How must the family felt when only two weeks later they were stood in that same church baptising baby Edward Henry?

Tragedy and heart ache continued and the next three children born also died as babies;
*Ernest - baptised 19th April 1885 died 29th December 1885, buried 2nd January 1886
*Imlah - baptised 18th June 1886 buried 7th December 1886
*Florry - baptised 9th February 1888 buried 15th August 1888
Sarah Jane Burton death - Derbyshire Times
26th January 1884 page 5
Ernest Burton death - Derbyshire Times
23rd January 1886 page 5

The deaths of first two children; Sarah Jane and Ernest were announced in the local newspaper, The Derbyshire Times.  Maybe the task was simply too heart breaking for Edward and Susannah as the deaths of Imlah and Florry do not appear to be recorded.
The 1891 census shows the Burton family living at Stone Row in New Whittington.  Edward senior was head of the household, aged 39 years old he worked as a coal miner.  Susannah was 36 years old and is recorded as being born in the nearby village of Mosbrough.  The two eldest boys David aged 17 years old and Herbert aged 14 years old had also gained employment at the coal mines, working as labourers.  Edward Henry and his sister Lavina were still attending school.  There was a new member of the family a little six month old baby girl named Sarah. 
Sarah was baptised in 1890, however it appears that she was known fondly by her family as "Sally" as on the 1901 census she is recorded as Sally.  To confuse us further, a younger sibling named Sarah Elizabeth  was born in 1892, she was aged 9 years old on the 1901 census.  The family still live on Stone Row which was just off of the main High Street.  Edward senior was still employed as a coal miner.  Edward Henry has followed the elders of his family to work down the coal mines, working as a pony driver.  Lavina is aged 19 years old, no occupation is noted.
The older boys David and Herbert are not living at the family home in 1901 -
David married Rose Hannah Allison on 25th October 1897 at St Bartholomew's Church in the village.  In 1901 David and Rose were living a few minutes walk away from the Burton family at 63 Wellington Street.  They have a new addition to the family a little boy named Albert aged just 11 months old.
Herbert has also settled down and married Jessie Bailey on 14th February 1888.  In 1901 they were living at 99 Station Road, Old Whittington.  The couple have also stated a family; a daughter named Alethea aged 2 years old and a young son aged 11 months named Herbert Edwin.

Love is in the air.....
Wedding bells were to ring for Edward Henry Burton when on 5th November 1904 he married his sweetheart Eliza Longson.  Eliza was a local girl born in Newbold, the daughter of James and Margaret Longson.  The couple married at Eliza's local parish church; St John's the Evangelist at Newbold.
Edward and Eliza soon had a family of their own, a daughter named Annie was baptised at St Bartholomew's Church on 19th April 1906. 
During the next few years Edward and his brother David left the Burton family and the village of New Whittington for pastures new, to work in the coal mines a Laughton en le Morthen near Rotherham.
Edward and Eliza registered their second child; a son named Harry at Rotherham.  He was born on 30th January 1909 and baptised at Laughton en le Morthen on 3rd March 1909.
Signature of Edward "Harry" Burton 1911 census

The last census before the outbreak of World War 1 shows Edward and Eliza living at Laughton Common, Dinnington.  Edward was now aged 27 years old and worked as a coal miner below ground.  Annie is aged 5 years old and Harry aged 2 years old.  The census also tells that the couple have one child who is deceased. 
David Burton and his family are also living at Laughton Common, he is recorded as having bore 4 children with only two still living.  His son Albert Edward is now aged 10 years old and Florence Lilian is 8 years old.  A child David John was baptised on 23rd November 1905 at New Whittington and was buried on 2nd August 1906. 
Herbert Burton had also left the village of New Whittington and was now living at 86 Duke Street, Cresswell near Mansfield.  All of Herbert's children were still living; Alethea aged 12 years old, Herbert Edwin aged 10 years old, Cyril aged 8 years old, Joseph William aged 6 years old and Edward aged 4 years old.
Back in New Whittington; 189 High Street is the home to the Burton family.  Edward senior was 59 years old and still worked as a coal miner hewer.  His daughters still lived at home; Lavina aged 29 years old worked as a dressmaker, Sarah (Sally) aged 20 years, Elizabeth (Sarah Elizabeth) aged 19 years old. 
1911 Census Edward & Susannah
Burton, showing children born

This census tells that Edward senior and Susannah Burton had 10 children; 6 still living and 4 deceased.  I note that the number has been changed from the original 9 children; 5 still living and 4 deceased.  I have accounted for 10 children; 6 living in 1911 and 4 deceased.

1911 census showing baby William Burton
There was another entry on the census page, an entry which did not include the relationship to the householder; a young baby boy named William Burton he had been recorded as "1 week" old which had been crossed through and "under one month" added. 

William Henry Burton was baptised on 29th October 1911 at St Barnabas Church, New Whittington.  He was recorded as the son on William Henry Burton and Lavina Burton.  It looks likely that baby William was the illegitimate son of 29 year old Lavina Burton.

Life in Laughton Common....
Edward Henry and Eliza had two more sons; Walter was baptised on 20th September 1911 and James William born on 28th May 1913.  Sadly Walter was to die a year later and was buried on 16th September 1912.  The family are recorded as living at 61 Granville Street, Laughton at this time.
Edwards War....
Edwards service record states that Edward joined the 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment at Pontefract, North Yorkshire on 15th December 1914.  He was mobilised that very day and would most likely have remained at Pontefract with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment to begin his basic training.  The 3rd Reserves moved to Sunderland in January 1915 and so Edward may well have moved with them.
Christmas 1914 would have been a sad time for young mother Eliza left at home with her three children; Annie, Harry and William James.  Their brave father had gone off to fight for King and Country in the war that should have been over by now, according to common prophecy at the time.
Edward Henry Burton was now known as Private 17984, aged 32 years old was now a new member of the 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment.  This Battalion would have some seasoned soldiers amongst their ranks, having returned to England in December 1914 from service in Jubbulpore, India.  The 1st Battalion did not enjoy much time of rest however as they soon set off to join the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F), landing in Le Harve on 17th January 1915.
Edward remained in England being taught the military skills required to become a fighting soldier.  He received just short of 6 months training and arrived to join the 1st Battalion in the theatre of war on 1st May 1915.  The 1st Battalion were stationed at Ypres, Belgium at this time and had received orders that day to relieve the "2nd Kings Own in the trenches".
The war diary tells how the Battalion marched through heavy shell fire to the "new line at Verlorenhoek, which we took up at about 10pm". 
They remained in the trenches until 3rd May when they were ordered to split their companies and two of the 1st Battalion Coys were to move to St Julien to support the Rifle Brigade "who were hard pressed".  The push by the German Armies was hard at this time and during that night the original front line was pushed back, making the line which the 1st Battalion occupied the new front line. 
So close were the enemy that at 9am on 4th May the "enemy patrols were seen in front of our line".  Isolated patrols of Germans were seen advancing down the right side of the B.E.F.  Later that day at 2 o'clock in the afternoon it was thought that the Germans were placing machine guns in some local houses, which would then be used to attack the B.E.F front line.  Two hours later at 3.55pm the war diary gives this chilling statement "left trench reports thousand Germans with transport moving through Zonnebeke in a S.E direction.....Transport about 8 carts in rear.... troops are also reported moving down Zonnebeke - Ypres Rd close to Frezenberg".  
The B.E.F received "an exceptionally heavy bombardment...from 4pm till 6pm, when things quietened down considerably".
Things got worse for the 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment when they had their communication wires cut by a shell on 5th May.  The Germans were sending heavy artillery fire their way and in some parts had blown in the B.E.F trenches.  The sad lines written within the war diary again tell of the desperation the 1st Battalion must have felt, Edward the rookie soldier may have been right in the middle of all of this...
"9.15 am, 5th May..
Report to Bde.  "We are suffering heavy losses + trenches are being destroyed by heavy shell fire.  We are in urgent need of support if possible..... our artillery fire accurate, but H E shell needed against buildings..... Party of East Yorks arrived here report about 1/2 mile of their trench blown away and enemy advancing on their left.... Captain Collins has reported that he has had to retire from Right centre trench"
The 6th May was a little better and the enemy were reported as being "quieter today".  The 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment had sent open bursts of rapid fire on the enemies working trenches.  The next day was a similar day, the enemy were active but ineffective.  The 1st Battalion would be worn out by the time the 1st Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry relieved them during the night.  Away from the front line at last the Battalion marched back from Zonnebeke to the huts at Ypres.
The 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment arrived at the huts in Ypres for some well deserved rest by 1.30am on 8th May.  They were greeted by some unexpected good news.... "a draft of 487 N.C O's (non commissioned officers) and men".  Was Private Edward Henry Burton one of these men? we will never know for sure; he either arrived to witness the horrors of the last week or he was a fresh new face. A  rookie soldier who would now be face to face with some war worn, broken men who had spent a week from hell in the trenches.
The new draft was paraded in front of the Commissioned Officer for inspection at 11.30am and were ordered to "stand to" at 11.35am.  The reprieve for the 1st Battalion was short lived and by 12.15 they had received orders to retake the trench at Zonnebeke.  The men marched back along the railway lines to the trenches, this time with new men to join them.  They arrived in the support trenches by 5pm to find the area under heavy shell fire.  Captain Collins was wounded and casualties at this time were estimated in between 30 and 40 men.
At 7pm the orders were received to advance at 8pm.  The war dairy records the attack ...
"the attack was pushed almost up to the German trenches, but owing to the very heavy casualties in officers & men, it did not achieve its object.  All the officers were put out of action with the exception of Lt Briscoe who was able to get together the remnants of the Battalion next day.  Capt East was killed, Lt Col Isherwood, Lt Lousada, Lt Gauntlett, Lt Wylie, 2nd Lt Taylor, 2nd Lt Dodwell, 2nd Lt Morgan were wounded"
The weary men who had survived that terrible day returned in small groups back to the support trenches; Sgt South with 30 men and Sgt Taylor with 45 men.  For the men who reached the support trenches the rest was short; only 1 1/2hours later at 00.30am on 9th May orders were given by the Brigadier General to return and continue the attack.  The Battalion was said to have by now only be numbered at 83 men.  Sgt South led the men, they met up with the Middlesex Regiment and joined their numbers.  Reinforcements were sent including Lt Briscoe with 17 men.  The Battalion remained in the support trenches under heavy fire on 10th May.  Lt Briscoe was killed during this time.  On 11th May the Battalion were once again ordered to fall back to the huts at Ypres.
Private 17984 was killed in action on 8th May 1915.  He has no known grave.  Whether he joined the 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment on 1st May or 7th May 1915 he saw a short but traumatic service.  We can not even begin to imagine how Edward felt when he left his lovely family to join what would become known as the 2nd Battle of Ypres.  Straight into the front line with all its horrors, Edward must have shown great courage and true heroism in his part he played to fight for his children's and in fact our freedom.

Edward Henry Burton, Private 17984 is remembered at the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium.  He has no known grave but his name is engraved along with his comrades of the 1st Battalion Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment on Panels 36 and 55.
Medal card Edward Henry Burton www.ancestry.co.uk
Edward Henry was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star for his service.

Register of soldiers effects, Edward Henry Burton

Edwards widow Eliza was awarded £2 1s 4d on 6th July 1916, one year later for the upkeep of the children and herself.  on 25th September 1919 she was awarded a further £3.
Life went on....

Eliza & the children

For Edwards widow Eliza Burton and her three children life would be extremely difficult.  In 1916 she was living at 4 Hayhurst Crescent, Maltby but by the time Edward's medals were issued to Eliza in 1919 she had moved home as was now living at Chapel Street, Blackpool. 

What became of Eliza after this date I have not been able to ascertain for sure.  There is a death in 1955 at Sheffield, South Yorkshire which may well be hers but I would need to follow this further to confirm that it is her.

The children -

I have not found any further details of the life of Edward's eldest daughter Annie Burton (born 1st April 1906 at Chesterfield) or his son Harry Burton (born 30th January 1909 at Dinnington, Rotherham).
The youngest son James William Burton (born 28th May 1913 in Rotherham) may have remained in Blackpool as there is a death registered in 1969.  There is  also a marriage registered in Blackpool for James William marrying Jenny White in 1936, as before I have not found any further evidence to prove or disprove this is the correct man and so cannot be certain of the connection - but please contact me or post a comment if you are connected to this family so that I can update the story.

The siblings -

David Burton was living at Laughton Common on the 1911 census.  He may have another son named Arthur whose birth was registered at Chesterfield in 1913.  His wife Rose Hannah died in 1916 aged 41 years old. 

Herbert Burton and his wife Jessie both have their deaths registered in the Rother Valley registration district which indicates that Herbert also moved to the Rotherham area.  His wife predeceased him and died in 1943.  Herbert died in 1955 aged 78 years old.

Lavina Annie Burton never married as far as I can see.  There is a death for 59 year old Lavina A Burton in Doncaster in 1941.  What became of her son William Henry Burton is not known.  The documentation on Edwards service records stated that in 1919 the whereabouts of Lavina were not known.

Sarah "Sally" Burton was recorded on the service records in 1919 as living in Warmsworth, Doncaster. 

Sarah Elizabeth Burton was documented on the service record in 1919 as named "Cissy" she was living in Killamarsh at that time.
Maltby Cenotaph....
Edward is also remembered on the Malbty Cenotaph.  It looks likely that Edward may well have moved home from Laughton to Maltby to work at Maltby Main colliery.


Photos kindly taken and permission given to use on this blog by Tony Beighton of the Rotherham Family History Society.

If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Edward Henry Burton, his widow Eliza or children please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

With thanks -

Tony Beighton and the Rotherham Family History Society  http://www.rotherhamfhs.co.uk/
Amanda Jenkins  @ The Maltby Academy
Jeannette & Jon via WW1 forum

Reference and further reading -

Parish registers including Genuki Burial Transcripts for Laughton en le Morthen http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Transcriptions/WRY/LaughtonBurials1910-1919.html
Medal Rolls
Service Records www.findmypast.co.uk
Soldiers who died in the Great War
Newspaper Articles - Derbyshire Times
CWGC http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx

1st Battalion Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment war diaries  ref WO 95/2275/2

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