Edwin Sayer

Edwin Sayer
Born in Shropham, Norfolk in 1888, Edwin was the eldest of four children born to Charles and Martha (née Frost). Edwin's father died 1895, when Edwin was aged 6yrs. By 1901 the family had moved to St Ives, the birthplace of Edwin's mother. They lived at 2 Crown Walk, St Ives. Edwin was still living at home in 1911, employed as poulterer's assistant.

Edwin was the brother-in-law of William Roden, marrying William's sister Elizabeth in 1911. They lived at 3 Peeks Yard, St Ives. Two daughters were born, in 1912 and 1914.

Edwin's father was an old soldier, awarded several medals for his service. Edwin already had some military experience, serving in the Hunts Volunteer Force. He had previously applied to join the Army, rejected on medical grounds because of his teeth. He was clearly keen to serve in spite of being married with two young daughters, one just months old. He volunteered for enlistment at the first opportunity at a recruitment meeting, as reported in the Hunts Post on 18 September 1914.

Enlisted in October 1914, Edwin joined the 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment and landed in France in May 1915. An extract from one of his letters home was published on 3 September 1915. Edwin fought in Italy from December 1917 to March 1918, returning to the trenches in France in April 1918.

Soldiers from the Norfolk Regiment training in 1914
Having survived three years and experienced some of the fiercest trench warfare, Edwin was hit by a German shell whilst in action at Airie on Thursday 18 April 1918. He was aged 29 years. It is an indication of just how uneventful it was to have yet another death the trenches. The war diary makes no mention of casualties for that day, merely mentioning 'Enemy shelled the forest pretty heavily during the morning.'

News of Edwin's death was published in the Hunts Post on 17 May 1918. The family placed a notice of his death in the Hunts Post on 17 May 1918. More details of Edwin's death were published on 31 May 1918. He has no known grave. and is commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium.

Edwin left a widow and two young daughters. His wife married again just over a year later, to Bertram Burrell.

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