1914-15 Star Trio, Bronze Memorial Plaque, 2198 Pte Thomas Edge, 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, Killed in action on 28th April 1915, only 3 days after the Gallipoli Landings at Cape Helles.
1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medal all named: “2198 Pte T. Edge. Lan. Fus.”
Memorial Plaque named “Thomas Edge” in card box of issue.
Thomas Edge was born during 1887 in Bolton, Lancashire, the son of Thomas and Jane Ann Edge. The 1911 Cencus shows him as a 19 year old soldier with the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, at the Assaye Barracks, South Tedworth.
He first entered the War on 25th April 1915, as 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers were landed on to “W” Beach, where they won their “6 Victoria Crosses before Breakfast”, only 3 days later during the fighting, Private Thomas Edge was killed in action on 28th April 1915, his body was not recovered and he is since commemorated by a panel on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.
With some research done by the Fusilier Museum in Bury, including his Medal index card, medal rolls, CWGC information, war diary entries and Account of the battle from the regimental history.
The Lancashire Fusiliers 1914-1918 Page 57 reports the day of the 28th April 1915 for the 1st Battalion Lanc Fus:
On 28th April, after a not very convincing bombardment of the position by the fleet and the twenty-eight guns, the advance began, each of the leading brigades having one battalion in support, while the 86th Brigade was in reserve. The 1st Battalion was now organized in two companies, under Captain H. Shaw and Major G. S. Adams.
The surplus officers and N.C.Os. accompanied the attack as supernumeraries, as the system of leaving a proportion of a unit behind as a first reinforcement had not then been introduced. Battalion headquarters was still intact so that the battalion was well off as regards "direction" in comparison with other units.
The men were in good fettle and their morale was improved by the fact that they alone had expended but little ammunition during the previous days and they still had their packs.
The effect of the intended manoeuvre was soon apparent. The troops on the left did not wait for those in the centre and soon found that their right flank was "in the air." As soon as touch was gained with the Turks, the troops were, as Wellington said, "attracted by the fire" and the objective was forgotten.
The battle became a "soldiers' battle" and by 1 a.m. considerable confusion existed in the centre; ammunition began to fail and, as the Turks sent up their reinforcements, the advance stopped. The 87th Brigade also stopped, although they had met with little opposition. On the extreme right the French, after an initial rush, were held up by skilfully placed advanced posts. Brigadier-General W. R. Marshall, who was acting as local commander, decided to send in the 86th Brigade with orders to take up ammunition and then, taking the line forward, to capture Krithia.
Lieutenant-Colonel D. E. Cayley (Worcestershire Regiment) was in command of the 86th Brigade and he ordered the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Fusiliers to act as right and left front battalions, with the "Dubsters, as the combined remnants of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers were called, in support. However, this corps could not be found. They had been rushed Hoff on an SOS from some officer of the 88th Brigade, a striking instance of the lack of trained staff officers.
Thus the advance of the 86th Brigade was made with two 58 battalions only. The companies advanced in artillery formation and reached the front line with little loss.
Lance-Corporal H. Schofield showed conspicuous courage in exposing himself frequently under heavy fire in order to locate the Turkish trenches accurately.
The Inniskilling Fusiliers were in considerable strength in the nullah, but they had difficulty in leaving it, and Captain Willis with two platoons of No. Company decided to call on the men to make long rush to seize Fir Tree Wood, so well known later on, where the Turks had one of their posts.
The men begged to be allowed to leave off their heavy packs, and permission was given. This was mistake, for the packs were never recovered, and they were soon badly wanted. After covering fire the two platoons and few of the Inniskilling Fusiliers started their long rush. Training told and, with bursting lungs, the little party made good the corner of the wood with few casualties, among whom, however, was Lance-Corporal H. Schofield, who, after being bandaged, volunteered to go back across the swept ground with report calling for reinforcements.
It was evident that the Turks had had enough at this point, and with reason, his rifle with one exception. 2nd Lieutenant P.D. W. Dunn was for in one platoon post of about twenty every Turk lay dead sent forward with patrol and Pioneer-Serjeant A. Burchell volunteered to accompany him.
He went almost into Krithia and found that the Turks had retired. At this juncture small party under Captain H. M. Farmer, who was acting as brigade major, arrived, and the situation was explained. The adjutant, Captain C. Bromley, who was with another small party on the left, was wounded in the leg and had to be helped back. Major G. S. Adams with the remainder of No. Company was by this time in the nullah, and as it was impossible to get the line to advance, the small parties in front came back, and the chance of reaching Krithia was lost.
The situation was very confused and the fact that no senior commander could be found to whom report could be made, led to the inevitable result, retirement. position behind the nullah was carelessly chosen and the troops dug in.
The situation was critical, and boldness and vigour at this point might have changed stale mate into local success of great importance. Impressed with this view, Captain R. R. Willis went off to find some responsible mander to whom to report. While on his quest he met staff officer belonging to the divisional artillery who, after hearing the news, advised him go with him to divisional headquarters, now at "W" Beach.
The orderly's horse was commandeered and eventually the report was made to Major-General Hunter-Weston. The situation in the front line was not improved by the rain and cold which prevailed that night. Then the lack of the discarded packs was severely felt by the men, who lost no time in making up the deficiencies from the many casualties best they could. In addition to Bromley, the battalion lost Lieutenant L. B. L. Seckham and many other ranks wounded.
Lance Corporal H Schofield was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
It was thus that the opportunity pf taking Kritihia was lost; the Turks soon found that the attacks as at a standstill, and as reinforcements arrived they came back and so strengthened their position that Kritihia was never again in danger.”