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Edgar Rule (1896-1918)

Sunderland man received a commission in Canadian Expeditionary Force

Edgar Rule was the only son of William Youngston Rule and his wife, Sarah, whom he had married in spring 1896 in Sunderland. The 1901 census has Edgar and his mother staying with her sister in Bishopwearmouth. There is no trace of his father at this time, but it is known that he died in Sunderland in 1902. By 1911 Edgar was a pupil at Crossley and Porter Orphan Home and School in Halifax. This was not a usual orphanage; there were fees and the boys learnt Latin and Mathematics. His mother, Sarah, was now a trained nurse, living in lodgings in Harrogate.

In December 1913 Sarah and Edgar sailed to New York, arriving on 15 December and crossing the border into Canada the following day. They headed for Toronto, where Edgar found work as a bank clerk and joined a militia group, the 12th York Rangers. Sarah returned to Harrogate in February 1915, six months before Edgar enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, becoming Private 71683 attached to the 83rd Battalion. The 83rd were initially based at Niagara Camp, but from November 1915 their base was at Riverdale Barracks in Toronto. The Battalion embarked for England on board the SS Olympic, leaving Halifax on 28 April 1916 with 35 officers and 1085 other ranks. They disembarked at Liverpool on 6 May, before travelling onwards to camp at West Sandling. Just a month later, Edgar was transferred to 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR) (no longer cavalry, but an infantry battalion). He arrived to join his new unit in France by 9 June, as reinforcement after the fighting at Ypres.

Edgar would have seen action at the Somme and Vimy Ridge and, in December 1917, was transferred to England with a view to being granted a commission. Posted to 2nd Central Ontario Regimental Depot at Shorncliffe, he attended Officer Training School at Bexhill and was then appointed as second lieutenant to the Overseas Ministry for the Forces of Canada at Witley.

Rejoining 4CMR as a full lieutenant in June 1918 at Enquin-les-Mines, Edgar would have taken part in the battles of Amiens and Arras in August, and the Battle of Cambrai St.Quentin in September. At 3pm on 29 September 1918 the battalion moved by congested roads into the trenches at Marcoing, and it was here that Edgar was killed along with two other men during heavy shelling from the Germans. He is buried in Moeuvres Communal Cemetery Extension, west of Cambrai.

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 30-Dec-1896

Death date: 29-Sept-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Sunderland (birthplace)
2 Burnaby Street, Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland (1901 census)
Crossley & Porter Orphan House and School, Halifax (1911 census)

Religion: Presbyterian

Employment: Bank clerk (enlistment papers)

Family: Parents: George Youngston Rule, Sarah Reevel Rule, nee Wilson

Military service:

12th York Rangers (pre-war militia)
83rd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force
2nd Central Ontario Regimental Depot
Overseas Ministry for the Forces of Canada
4th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles

Medal(s): British War Medal, Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by Jean Longstaff, Durham

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