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Edward Emmerson (1880-1918)

Sunderland born miner died from pneumonia in Belgium whilst serving with CEF

When Edward was born in Sunderland in 1880, his father Thomas was away from home working as an Able Seaman, leaving his wife Ellen at home with two year old Thomas and a new baby. The 1891 census shows that by that date Edward had three sisters, and his father had given up the sea and was working as a coal teamer; a cartman driving coal wagons from the trains down to the staithes and waiting colliers. Ten years later they still lived in the same house and Edward was a railway engine fireman.

At the end of 1903 Edward married Durham girl Elizabeth Hannah Gaddess and by the time of the next census in 1911 they had five sons and were living in Dunston whilst Edward was working as a coal miner.

On 1st July 1912 Edward arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia having sailed from Liverpool aboard SS Pomeranian. He was bound for the coal mining town of Stellarton, Nova Scotia. He was followed three months later by Elizabeth, who travelled with the five boys from Glasgow to Quebec.

Edward enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 24th November 1914 as Private 69258 with ā€œCā€ Company, 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion at St John, New Brunswick. He gave his wife as his next of kin and his employer as the Rothwell Coal Company of Minto, New Brunswick. The next month the Battalion was inspected by Sir Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia.

In June 1915 the Battalion sailed on the SS Caledonia to Plymouth and were posted to East Sandling Camp, Hampshire where they were assigned to the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. They were inspected in August by Bonar Law, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had been born in New Brunswick, and the following month by King George V and Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. On 15th September 1915 they sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne and proceeded into Belgium, where they had an instructional tour of the trenches near Scherpenberg.

In April 1916 Private Emmerson was granted a weeks leave to the UK and he would have been able to visit his wife and seven sons who had returned to England on the SS Corsican in December 1915 to stay with family in Dunston. They returned to Canada in August 1917 and home to River Herbert, Nova Scotia.

Returning to the front line during fighting at Sugar Trench near Courcelette on about 16th September, Edward was wounded in the chest and right arm. He was evacuated to the stationary hospital at Doullens before being invalided to Rusthall VAD Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. After convalescence Edward was discharged from hospital at Category D in November 1916 and after two months was posted to the 1st Training Brigade, Hastings at Category A, fit for active service. After a relapse he was posted to the New Brunswick Regimental Depot and in May posted to the 13th Reserve Battalion at Shoreham.

Later that year, Edward volunteered to return to France and was posted to the 3rd Tunnelling Company as a Sapper. He joined them at Mount Sorrel in mid September 1917 where they were employed constructing deep underground facilities in the Ypres Salient.

At the end of January 1918, Sapper Emmerson was taken ill with pneumonia. He was admitted firstly to 2/3 East Lancs Field Amulance and then 3rd CCS, Remy Siding, south of Poperinghe, Belgium. He died there on 29th January 1918 and was buried the next day at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery with the service conducted by Padre William L Archer.

Elizabeth and the boys returned to England in December 1919. They stayed with her brother in Dunston and in 1922 returned to River Hebert in Canada.

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 09-Nov-1880

Death date: 29-Jan-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 10 Lucknow Street, Sunderland (1881 census)
43 Tower Street East, Sunderland (1891 census)
17 Wallace Street, Dunston (1911 census)

Employment: Railway engine fireman (1901 census)
Miner (1911 census)
Miner Rothwell Coal Company (enlistment papers)

Family: Parents: Thomas William Emmerson, Ellen Emmerson (nee McGinn)
Siblings: Thomas W Emmerson, ED, Mary Ellen Emmerson, Ada Emmerson, Ruth Emmerson
Wife: Elizabeth Hannah Emmerson (nee Gaddess)
Children: Edward Emmerson, John Thomas Emmerson, David Emmerson, George Emmerson, Andrew Emmerson, Henry Emmerson, Samuel Emmerson

Military service:

26th (New Brunswick) Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)
13th Reserve Battalion CEF
3rd Tunnelling Company, Canadian Engineers

Medal(s): 1914/15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium

Gender: Male

Contributed by Jean Longstaff, Durham | Jim Busby, Canada

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