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Edward Darlington was the eldest child of six born to his parents Joseph and Mary Ellen Darlington (nee Sandham). Both Joseph and Mary Ellen had been working on canal boats on the Lancaster Canal prior to their marriage at St. John`s Parish Church in Preston on the 4 October, 1879.

When Edward was born in 1880 his parents had moved into number 15 Friday Street in the Maudland Bank area of Preston and Edward`s father was working as a labourer. A sister Hannah Jane was born in 1882 and she was followed by Thomas (1884), Joseph (1888), Fleetwood (1890) and William (1895).

Ten years on in 1891 the family had moved to Cannon Hill and then by 1901 Edward and his family were resident in Waterloo Terrace in Ashton on Ribble, Preston. Edward was working as an electric car builder and labourer which would have been at the Electric Railway and Tramcar works on Strand Road in Preston (Dick Kerr`s).

Edward married Bessie Matilda Robinson the daughter of policeman Joseph Robinson (deceased) on the 14 June 1905 at St. Andrew`s Church in Ashton on Ribble. Bessie already had a daughter Gladys who had been born just prior to their marriage. Edward and Bessie then had a son Joseph (1906-1908), a daughter Alice (1907) and two more sons, Joseph (1910) and Thomas (1911).

In 1911 Edward and Bessie were living at 111 Wellington Street in Preston and he had left his job at Dick Kerr`s and was now employed by Preston Corporation as a labourer on Preston Docks. At some point just after 1911 the family moved across the river to live at 7 Prospect View, Middleforth Green in Penwortham. Another daughter was born in 1913 and they named her Bessie after her mother. Twins Dorothy and Janet arrived in 1914 but sadly they both died the following year.

Unfortunately Edward`s papers have not survived so we cannot be certain when he actually enlisted however his Medal Index Card states that he arrived in France on the 7th August 1915 which was about three weeks after the 7th Battalion had first landed in France.

The 7th Battalion war diary for the 9th August 1915 notes;

“A draft of 80 N.C.O`s and men arrived at MERVILLE STATION at 11.45am and were marched to the Battalion.”

It`s very likely this is when Edward joined the 7th Battalion as one of the 80 reinforcements.

Edward managed to survive the Battalion`s involvement in the Battle of Loos and also fought his way through the Battle of the Somme in which so many of his pals from the 7th Battalion lost their lives.

The final phase of the Battle of the Somme was the Battle of Ancre (13-18thNovember 1916) and just three days later on the 21st November 1916 the war finally took its toll on Edward.  The 7th Battalion were marching back for another stint in the trenches when Edward had to `fall out` suffering from what sounds like a heart attack and he died almost immediately. He was just 36 years old.

Bessie Darlington reported the death of her husband to the Preston Guardian who later published the following article with photograph.

Darlington 1

Edward was buried with honour in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme in France.

Bessie would later receive Edward`s entitlement to the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Edward is remembered on the Penwortham War Memorial not far from where his widow Bessie and his five children were living (pictured below).

Penwortham memorialDarlington 2

His name also appears on the Preston Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston.

Rank: Private
Service No: 17128
Date of Death: 21/11/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Janet Davis
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7 Responses to 17128 PTE. E. DARLINGTON. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Peter Holmes says:

    Thank you for putting this online,Edward Darlington was my Great Grandfather,on 21st of Nov this year it will be the 100th Anniversary of his passing,it’s hoped that my father myself and my son Charlie will visit his war grave to pay our respects

  2. Michael Holmes says:

    I am father to Peter Holmes above. Pte. Edward Darlington was my maternal grandfather and my mother was Gladys Darlington named in the article.
    I congratulate Janet Davis for her excellent research and record which follows closely my own family history of the ‘Darlington’ line. I assume she and I are not related!
    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION regarding Pte. E. Darlington is that he most probably signed up in October 1914 and in the 11th Reserve Battalion as I have 32 letters from him to his wife and family the first letter being posted from Felixstowe camp early November 1914. These letters
    continue to the month of October 1916 and just before he died at St. Pierre Divion a small village on the Ancre and only half a mile from the Lutyens Thiepval Memorial to the missing. The conditions at the time have been described as the worst possible with mud, snow and ice such had not been experienced in the Great War in France. One day after his death his Battalion was withdrawn behind the lines for a period of rest! His letters provide a valuable and interesting insight into the social conditions at home and both social and physical conditions during training and active service on the battlefield.
    His personal effects were sent home and I have inherited some of them – his 1914/15 War Star, a tin containing his ‘dog tag’, YMCA New Testament, pipe and tobacco tin, cut throat razor, and multi tool pen knife, and of particular interest is a copy of a poem written by my grandfather shortly before his death which starts as an appeal addressed to the King followed by an exposition on the horror of war and culminating in a prayer for peace.
    Edward Darlington had two brothers who also died in France. Sapper William Darlington 97th Field Co. R.E.died 26th June 1916 and is buried in the Ville sur Ancre Communal Cemetery with ten other engineers all sheltering in a village house when a shell landed on it. I have a letter from Brompton Barracks confirming his death. The other brother Sapper Joseph Darlington died 21st August 1917 serving with the 158th OBCF Duke of Connaught’s Regiment having joined up in Vancouver, Canada and has no known grave but is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

    In my father’s New Testament is written the name and address of Private R Corry 17124 C Co 11th Battalion address Church Street, Kelsall, Chester. He was probably some four ahead of Edward Darlington in the queue to sign up and no doubt the intention was to meet up after the war. Private Corry was killed on the 1st day of the Somme Battle in July 1916 and is buried in Bienvillers Cemetery.
    It would be interesting to find someone who has knowledge of Private Corry or who is related to him.
    In 2006 I visited all four graves and paid tribute to their sacrifice ‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’!

    • Janet Davis says:

      Hello Michael and Peter, I`m pleased you found the article on Edward and thank you very much for all the additional information, it makes very interesting reading.

      Thank you also for the very kind comments and as you suspected I am not related! I pass the Penwortham War Memorial where Edward is remembered several times a week and I also know some of the people responsible for it`s renovation, it is a credit to them and looks magnificent, as it should.

      Thank you once again for taking the time to comment and for adding all the extra information.

      Kind Regards

      • Stephen Darlington says:

        Great information, glad to find out out more about a man I greatly admire for his, and his brothers, sacrifice. Edward is my paternal grandfather; his son Joseph was my grandfather. I visited his grave a few years ago, but am planning on returning on the centenary of his death.

        Thanks Janet for the time you have put in to this. And also thanks Michael for your additional information. We probably have met, but it will have been at least 40 years ago.

  3. J Michael Darlington says:

    Tomorrow 1st July, I and eight of my friends will be holding a lunch, with readings from war poets and war diaries in remembrance of those who died on the Somme battlefield June – November 1916. I may even be allowed to read an extract from Edward Darlington’s poem ‘Let there be peace’. Since 2008 for one week each year we have visited battlefield sites and memorials in Europe from Northern France & Belgium,(including Waterloo) to Arnhem, Holland (WW2) to Gallipoli and last year Italy, (Anzio, Montecassino and Rome. This year we hope to continue with the retreat of the German army from Rome to Bologna.
    In the course of the last eight years I have visited the memorials of all three of my grandfather’s first cousins, Edward Darlington at Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension, of brother William at Ville-sur-Ancre Communal Cemetery and brother Joseph whose name is on the Vimy memorial. I have also visited the Peace Building in Ottawa, Canada where Joseph’s name appears in the Book of Remembrance. The page containing his name is displayed for public viewing every year on May 20th in the memorial Chamber of the Parliament of Canada. The Canadian House of Commons expresses its indebtedness with the gift of an illuminated scroll to relatives of the fallen.
    Peace certainly came at a price but will we ever learn?

  4. Peter Edward Darlington says:

    I am Joseph’s son and was very interested to read all the comments posted above in response to Janet’s article about my grandfather. I too,like my cousin Michael have inherited several of my grandfather’s effects, including his ‘Death Penny’and a New Testament, which was issued to all the troops leaving Preston Barracks,into which his daughter Gladys has written a rather moving poem asking God to keep him safe.

  5. David holden says:

    Hello, my name is david holden i live at 7 prospect place, penwortham. Which was formally 7 prospect view. I have been researching my house history for some time now. I would be very interested to know if there are any photoes of your relative at prospect view/place or the street or surrounding area. Any info would be very interesting thanks david contact me at d_holden@hotmail.co.uk

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