WAITE Edwin Charles

Category: Military
Rank: Private L/8495
Regiment or Ship: 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
Service Number(s): L/8495
Occupation: Serving soldier pre-war
Date of Birth: 05.11.1887
Place of Birth: Catsfield, Sussex
Date of Death: 13.11.1914
Place of Death: Ypres area, Belgium Place of Burial / Memorials:

Menin Gate Memorial, Panel 20, Bexhill War Memorial, St Mary Magdalene War Memorial and All Saints Sidley War Memorial.

Address: 14 North Road, Sidley

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Father: James 1850-1915
Mother: Charlotte 1848-1927

Mary Jane 1874-1939
Clara 1876-1957
Annie Louise 1878-1954
James 1883-1886
Frances Elizabeth 1885-1966
Eldred 1880-1918 W0123 WAITE Eldred (Private)
Mabel Alice 1890-1972
Florence 1892-1965

Brother in law: John Albert Nichols W0097 NICHOLS John (Driver)
Brother of John Nichols: Frank Victor Nichols W0096 NICHOLS Frank (Private)
Brother in law: Charles Henry Britt W0073 BRITT Charles (Driver)
Brother in law: Nelson James Britt  W0074 BRITT Nelson James (Ordinary Seaman)
Brother in law: George Edward Veness W0119 VENESS George (Driver)

First World War Experience

In October 1891 he entered Catsfield Village School and left about 1900. He joined the Regular Army at Hastings on 29th June 1906, aged 19. He was already serving as a part-time soldier in the 1st Sussex (Volunteer) Royal Engineers. Edwin stated that he wished to serve in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (Royal Horse or Royal Field Regiments). However, on the following day in Chichester, he was transferred as a Private with the number 8495 to the Royal Sussex Regiment. His terms of service were 9 years with the Colours and 3 years with the Reserve. He served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment at Rawalpindi, now part of Pakistan until February 1913. He returned to the UK and was transferred to the Reserve in March.

Whilst in India, he was a Company Cook for 18 months, and passed a class of instruction on Big Gun Drill in May 1911.  His musketry classification was 2nd class. He also acquired a tattoo on his right forearm of a snake encircling a tree. Between 1907 and 1910, he spent a total of 88 days in hospital with various ailments – ague, dyspepsia, rheumatism and a wounded left toe.

His Regimental Defaulter Sheet and the Squadron, Troop, Battery and Company Sheet make interesting reading.  On 7th March 1908 he was drunk and creating a disturbance in the Bungalow about 2.15 pm and then resisted his escort.  He was awarded 7 days confined to barracks.  On 18th March 1910 at Rawalpindi he disobeyed an order and was given 96 hours detention.  At Gharial on 8th September 1912 he was drunk in barracks, used obscene and threatening language to a Sgt Cramp, attempted to strike Sgt Cramp, and used obscene language in the guard detention room.  He was detained for 14 days, fined two shillings and sixpence, and forfeited one good conduct.  Nonetheless, although he had no Good Conduct badges on his transfer to the Reserve in 1913, his conduct whilst with the Colours is described as ‘Very Good’.

Edwin was mobilised on 5th August 1914, posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and was further posted to the British Expeditionary Force on 12th February, the day it commenced the move over to the continent.

Edwin was wounded in the Battle of Mons but recovered sufficiently to take his part in the other great battle which avenged it (the first battle around Ypres).  His Battalion were moved to the defence of Ypres in late October 1914.  After a brief period in reserve, the Battalion moved on 7th November to action at Klein Zillebeke.  They were relieved two days later on 9th November and again went to the reserve line. On 13th November, Edwin was again wounded, and was being carried to safety by a French soldier when they were both shot by a German sniper, both being killed.

 Bexhill Observer 12 December 1914

News reached Mr and Mrs J. Waite, of 15, North Road, Sidley, a few days ago that their son, Private E. Waite, Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on November 13th at the Battle of Ypres. With the sad news came the following message from Lord ‘Kitchener:—” The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow.” The dead hero was 27 years of age. He had previously been wounded in the retreat from Mons, in consequence of which he spent a month at the base hospital in France. Having regained his health and strength, Private Waite was sent back to the fighting line, and after only one day’s fighting met his death. The sympathy of all Bexhillians will go out to Mr and Mrs Waite In their sorrow.

With acknowledgments to Diana Nichols

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