Service number: 12460 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Norfolk Regiment.
Died, October 27, 1917, in Flanders. Aged 20.
Buried at ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France.
Son of Henry and Eliza Kent, 112 London Road, Brandon.
Born in Brandon, enlisted at Norwich.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT EDWARD …
Edward Kent was born in Brandon and was the youngest son of Henry and Eliza Kent living at 112 London Road, Brandon. When war was declared Edward was barely old enough to enlist but he did so and went to an Army Recruitment Office in Norwich and joined up with his pals in ‘Kitchener’s Army’ in 1914.
Following a period of training in the UK he was then sent over to France but his time in the Army would not be very lucky because he ended up getting wounded with alarming regularity. In September 1915 he spent time in hospital in Le Havre and in August 1916 this was followed by a time in No.8 General Hospital in Wimereux to recover from a gunshot wound to his right leg. This leg wound was deemed serious enough for him to be brought back to Britain to receive treatment in the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. Once recovered from his wounds he was returned back to France only to be wounded again in 1917.
Edward wrote home to his parents to tell them he had been wounded but that it was nothing too severe and they received his letter on Saturday 27th October 1917. This would indicate that Edward was involved in the fighting at Poelcapelle on 22nd October. The battlefield at Poelcapelle was very muddy and shell holes were filled with water, which only hindered the movement of soldiers in the attack. At 5.35am on the 22nd October the order to attack the German trenches was given and the men of the 8th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, moved toward the enemy trenches behind a rolling artillery barrage. There was sporadic resistance from enemy pillboxes and machine gun posts, which caused many casualties, but the battalion eventually achieved their objective later that day before they were relieved. The battalion had captured pill boxes, machine guns and 82 prisoners, but it came at a cost – 32 other ranks were killed along with 155 wounded and missing. Edward was one of those who had been wounded. He was taken from the front line and received attention in a Field Hospital in Etaples after receiving a wound to his back.
However, in a tragic twist of coincidence, on the same day that Edward’s parents received his letter they also received an official telegram from the Record Office informing them that his wounds were in fact life threatening. Two days later on Monday 29th they received another official telegram stating that he had succumbed to his wounds and had died on the 27th.
Edward’s distraught parents wrote to the hospital where he had died and asked for any information regarding their son’s last moments. They received this as a reply …
“Your letter safely received regarding your son, Private E. Kent.
Making enquiries I find that he suffered from gunshot wounds to the back with injury to the kidney. At his operation it was found that an abscess had formed in the abdominal cavity, and there was a perforation of the intestine, and in spite of all that could be done for him he died on October 27th.
He is buried in the Military Cemetery at Etaples, near here. The Matron of the ward in which your son lay states that he was a good patient, and a nice boy.
Please accept our sincere sympathy with you in your loss, and believe me to be.
M.A.C. Blair, Sister”
His parents later offered the inscription for his headstone,
“A Faithful Son, A Brother Kind, Dearly Loved By, Those He Left Behind“.