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Edward Terence Burke was born to a Roman Catholic family in Galway, Ireland in about 1876. His father was named Robert (died 1905) and his mother was named Margaret. He had two older sisters Catherine and Gertrude; and two older brothers Robert and John who also served with the Loyal North Lancs; and a younger brother named Sylvester. Catherine and Sylvester were both living at Renmore Barracks in Galway in 1894.

Around the time of his eighteenth birthday, on 13th July 1894 Edward enlisted in the Army for a regular service engagement of 7 years with the Colours and 5 years in the Reserve. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was given the number 3204.

At the time of his enlistment he was single, living at home and had been working as a clerk. He had no previous military experience. The medical officer described him as being 5ft 8.25in tall, weighing 130lbs with brown hair and grey eyes.

On 6th February 1897 Edward married Margery Spencer Wilkinson at Fulwood, Preston. They had five children together; Edward Terence (b. 20/08/05), John Albert (b. 30/04/08), Sylvester (b. 26/06/10), Eileen May (b. 03/05/12) and Bertha Ellen (b. 28/12/13).

During the early years of Edwards military career he was often in trouble for overstaying his leave passes or drunkenness. He spent the first five years on Home duties in the UK and Ireland. Between September 1899 and September 1900 he was in Malta, then Cyprus September 1900 – May 1902, Gibraltar May 1902 – April 1904 and South Africa April 1904 – February 1907.


Taken in Cyprus between 1900 and 1902

Having completed his original terms of service in July 1902, he extended for a further three years and in May 1905 at Pretoria South Africa he had extended again.

On 24th February 1907 he was posted across to the 1st Battalion and spent the next ten years on Home duties.


Pre-war photograph of E T Burke as a Serjeant

In 1911, as a Serjeant, at the School of Musketry in Hythe he passed courses enabling him to instruct in the maintenance of small arms and maxim guns.  He was appointed Colour Serjeant (Instructor).

On 14th September 1914 Colour Serjeant (Instructor) Edward Burke was appointed acting Serjeant Major of the 2/4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Regiment. He was promoted to Warrant Officer Class II in January 1915.

On 1st April 1915 he was awarded the Long Service Good Conduct medal with £5 gratuity.

In June 1916 his terms of service expired again. This time Edward signed a declaration enabling him to continue serving till the end of the War. He was sent to France in February 1917 and promoted to Warrant Officer Class I, Regimental Serjeant Major.  In the November that year he was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s Dispatches.


Warrant Officer (Class 1) Edward Terence Burke

Serjeant Major Edward Burke was discharged from the Loyal North Lancashire on 29th January 1918 with the view of obtaining commission as a quartermaster. The following month he commissioned into the Northampton Regiment as Second Lt & Quartermaster and attached to the 9th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.

Just two months later Second Lieutenant Edward Terence Burke was killed in action and buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Poperinge, Belgium.


Rank: Lieutenant
Trade: Qmr
Date of Death: 25/04/1918
Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps, 9th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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4 Responses to RSM Edward Terence BURKE

  1. Natalie Clegg says:

    This is my great great grandfather and I was missing some information whilst researching my family tree.
    This article helped me put the last bits together!

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Tom Burke says:

    Hi Robin, Terence Edward was my Grandfather and supply the above photos. Yours Tom Burke

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