First World War Project
Edward Jordan (of Lynsted and Teynham)
b. 20th May 1889
Lance Corporal, Service Number D/20552
Edward was born in Throwley on 20 May 1889 to Henry Thomas, an agricultural labourer originally from Whitstable, and Emily (née Wilkinson) originally from Boughton-under-Blean. The family was living at Forge Farm, The Lees, Badlesmere, but would later move to Newnham Road, Eastling, and later, Newnham Street, Newnham.
Edward who was christened in Throwley Church on 30 June 1889, was the second youngest of nine children. His older siblings were Percy William, Thomas, Fanny, Jane, Henry, Kate and James. His younger sibling was Edith.
In November 1905, Edward enlisted via The Buffs recruitment process at Canterbury, and allocated to "Dragoons of the Line". He was deemed medically fit for service on 20 November 1905 and registered as Private 6814 to 7th (The Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards.
The terms of the Short Service Attestation meant he had signed up for 12 years, seven years of which would be in Army Service and the remaining five years in reserve. The attestation describes Edward as a farm labourer, 5 feet 4 inches tall with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. It also states he was 18 years and 6 months old. Edward was in fact just 16 years and 6 months old.
Edward's military service started in Canterbury. On 15 March 1907 he obtained his "Army Certificate of Education Third Class". This was comprised of education and examination in elementary geometry, practical measurement, applications of money and English. After 2 years' service, on 20 November 1907, he was awarded a Good-Conduct Badge. This was an award for Privates and Lance Corporals serving in the Regular Army. The award was shown by a chevron worn on the lower sleeve of the uniform jacket. On the same day he was also granted an S.P. Class I, a special payment of 6d (2½p).
Following a medical at Canterbury on 11 September 1908, Edward was declared "disease free and fit for service in Egypt". On 17 September 1908, Edward set sail for Cairo. Just a month later, on 2 October, Edward was admitted to the Military Hospital in Cairo, where he spent 38 days suffering from "disease" being treated with "pure carbolic and hydrating butter". He was discharged from the hospital on 26 November. At the beginning of 1909 Edward's father died. We have found no evidence that Edward was allowed home leave at this sad time.
Edward was re-admitted to the Cairo Military Hospital on 23 May 1909 suffering from heat stroke. After treatment with ice he was discharged nine days later only to be re-admitted on 28 August suffering from Sand Fly fever. Edward spent 11 days in the hospital with fever and severe headaches. He was discharged on 7 September. Just 23 days later he was declared "fit for service in India". Four days later, on 3 October 1910 he sailed for India on H T Dongola, landing on 12 October 1910. Here he would serve until April 1912 when he returned home and was placed voluntarily in reserve.
After 2 years and 122 days at home, war was declared on 4 August 1914 and the following day Edward was mobilised and travelled to report to the 4th Cavalry Depot in Newport. This depot was the base for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th Dragoon Guards and it was here, on the 19 August 1914, Edward was posted into the 4th Dragoon Guards Reserves. On 15 September 1914, Edward embarked for France.
Prior to Edward's embarkation, his regiment had left for France on 15 August 1914. Concentrated at Harmignies, they went into the line only seven days after landing in France. The objective being to halt German progress west of Reims. They moved rapidly to Ermenonville on 2 September in response to reports the German Guards Cavalry had got round to the rear of our troops. On hearing the 4th Dragoon Guards were arriving, the Germans beat a hasty retreat!
In contrast with later years of largely fixed position fighting, these early days were marked by rapid movements, attacks and counter-attacks. There was an expectation that movement was still possible using the existing formations and tactics. Cavalry units were employed especially as reinforcing and relief formations. The fighting in September/October 1914 was later described as the "Race to the Sea" as the Germans and Allies struggled for ascendancy without risking a major flanking action.
Indeed, when Edward joined his regiment in the field on 4 October 1914, his first 16 days saw him back the 200 miles he had just travelled to join them.
The regimental war diary describes this time:
|Date||Summary events and Information|
|4th Oct 1914||Quiet day. Handed over to Northumberland Fusiliers at dark, returned to VASSENEY. Reinforcement of 1 officer, 185 other ranks and 214 horses joined. Moved at 8.30 p.m. to billets at HARTENNES via COUVRELLES – NAMPTEUIL.|
|5th Oct||Transport moved at 4.30 p.m. Regiment at 6.15 p.m. to the area VEZ-LARGNY via FLEURY as these villages were occupied we went into bivouac in the grounds of the Chateau at COYOLLES.|
|6th Oct||Marched at 1 p.m. via CREPYEN VALOIS BEIHSY – LACOIX – St. OUEN – JON QUIERES to LACHELLES at 8.0 p.m.|
|7th Oct||Orders to march at 9.0 a.m. to the area SAUVILLERS-MONGIVAL, moved via BELLEVUE VAVMONT – MONTDIDIER. Orders received to a position readiness one mile North East of that place to support the French who were being hard pressed. Assistance not required so moved into billets at AUBVILLERS about 7.0 p.m.|
|8th Oct||Marched at 10.0 a.m. to VILLERS BOCAGE via MOREUIL – BOUES – AMIENS.|
|9th Oct||Marched at 9.0 a.m. to LE SOUICHE via PUCHEU – VILLERS – THIEVRES – MALLOY arrived billets about 4.0 p.m.|
|10th Oct||Marched at 9.15 a.m. via ETPEEMAIZIERES to billets at BETHONSART.|
|11th Oct||Marched at 8.15 a.m. to GONNEHEM via HOUDAIN BRUAY – CHOCQUES arriving there about 1 p.m. Advanced Guard, 3rd Infantry Division, passed through about 1.40 p.m. Moved on to MERVILLE via ST. VENANT, after dark took up outposts along the East side of the FORET DENIEPLE. Difficulty in getting into position owing to lack of maps. A bad night.|
|12th Oct||At daylight, as advance guard Regiment, we were ordered to push a reconnaissance to BAILLEUL – STEENWERCK. The enemy were found in strength along the line VIEUX BERQUIN – NEUF BERQUIN. The Brigade was concentrated about VERTERUE at 9.30 a.m.
At 12.30 p.m. we pushed on as advance guard to STRAZEELE. The enemy were in strength about MERRIS and METEREN. At dusk the infantry took up the outposts through STRAZELLE. We went into billets South of PRADELLES. Captain Ramsey, 22nd Cavalry I.A. missing.
|13th Oct||Paraded at 6.30 a.m. Moved up to FRADELLES. Remained there until 10.0 a.m. To cross-roads ½ mile South East of ROUGCROIX. From thence to FLETRE and 1 mile North. Very wet day. To billets in FLETRE.|
|14th Oct||Marched at 6.30 a.m. to rendezvous 1 mile north of billets. From there via St.JANS to MONT NOIR. This portion we were ordered to hold but were shortly moved on to MONT ROUGE. Billeted at MONT VIDAIGNE at dusk. Reinforcements of 1 officer, 46 men, 49 horses.|
|15th Oct||Ready to march at 7.0 a.m. In readiness to move all day but did not leave billets.|
|16th Oct||Left billets at 2.30 a.m. advance guard to Brigade. Marched to NUEVE EGLISE from there to POLEG-STEERT. Took over from the Bays. Advanced by bounds on foot towards LE BIZET, HOUPLINE and FRENCHIEN. Street fighting offered by cyclists. Thick fog in morning up to 2 p.m. "B" & "A" Squadron took over a section of the outposts from LE BIZET to PONT ROUGE. Reserve at PLOEGSTEERT. Thick fog, very heavy firing in front of "A" Squadron about 7 p.m.|
|17th Oct||"A" Squadron and machine guns engaged in the morning 1st Brigade took over about 11 o'clock attack ordered against the section LE TOQUET-HOUPLINES by 2nd Cavalry Brigade. "C" covered the left and with Major Solly-Flood reconnoitred all the Bridges from PONT de NIEPPE to HOUPLINES. Returned to billets at NEUVE EGLISE after dusk. "C" Squadron at 2 a.m. on relief by Infantry.|
|18th Oct||Regiment less "C" Squadron marched at 6.30 a.m. to a position of readiness South West of PLOEGSTEERT. Remained in woods for cover from hostile aircraft all day. At night 4th Div. GAS took over outposts at St.YVES.|
|19th Oct||Relieved by 1st Cavalry Brigade. Went into farms behind St.YVES. Went into billets at NEUVE EGLISE at dusk.|
At some time over 20/21 October, just 16 days into his war service, Edward received his first injury. The war diary continues:
|Date||Summary events and Information|
|20th Oct||Turned out at 6.0 a.m. and marched to St.YVES about 11.0 a.m. ordered to support the 18th Hussars at the eastern edge of the BOIS de PLOEGSTEERT at which place we found they had been driven in. Remained on outpost all night.|
|21st Oct||The Infantry Battalion on our right at GHEER was rushed and lost the village in the early hours of the morning, the enemy working round to the right rear of the Regiment, bringing up two machine guns. A hundred men of the Essex Regiment which we sent to restore the situation lost their Officers and failed to do so. A Squadron of the 9th Lancers which was sent to our support lost two troops from shell fire en-route, despite this however the two remaining troops got into position on our fire en-route, despite this however the two remaining troops got into position on our right and stopped the enemy's turning movement, the enemy then attacked all along the line held by the Regiment, which maintained its position until reinforced by the Somerset Light Infantry who retook GHEER in the face of great opposition. Very heavy shelling and Infantry fire continued until night-fall when the regiment was relieved and retire WYSTHAETE.|
Edward had received a shrapnel wound to his left shoulder and was suffering effects of inhaling Lyddite. This was an explosive, predominantly used by the British Forces and was composed of picric acid the fumes of which was an irritant to the lungs. Edward was taken by the No. 3 Cavalry Field Ambulance to the No.2 Clearing Hospital at Bailleul. He was then transferred by No.1 Ambulance Train No.8 General Hospital in Rouen where he was admitted on 26 October. On the 29 October he was transferred to the Convalescent Camp where he stayed for two days before reporting to the Base Remount Depot in Rouen on 31 October. Edward was back with his regiment in the field on 24 November 1914.
At this time the fighting began increasingly to be characterised by trench warfare and the role of mounted troops diminished, other than in their ability to mobilise over large distances to meet critical need.
We know that Edward was appointed Paid Lance Corporal in the field on 22 September 1915. He was again wounded in action on 29 January 1916. The nature of the wounding is not recorded and it could only have been a minor wound as the records show he was taken by Camp Cavalry Field Ambulance to No.1 Casualty Clearing Station in Chocques. Two days later Edward re-joined his regiment in the field.
Edward would not be so lucky with his next injury. On the 2 August 1916 Edward was kicked in the knee by a horse. He was evacuated from the field by the 3rd Cavalry Field Ambulance and transferred to a sick convoy on 13 August. On the 15 August, via the No. 21 Ambulance Train, he arrived at No.5 General Hospital in Rouen. Here it was officially reported that the "soldier was not to blame" for his injury.
The injury was sufficient for Edward to be returned to England and on the 21 August 1916 he arrived at Mile End Military Hospital, Bancroft Road, London. Here his injury was confirmed as a "displaced semi-lunar cartilage in left knee". He was treated with massage and exercise that appeared to give him immediate relief. After 16 days, on 5 September he moved to the Orchard Convalescent Hospital in Dartford where he stayed for 26 days.
Edward remained in England on the strength of, firstly, the West Cavalry Depot and then the 4th Reserve Regiment. On 12 December 1916, he embarked from Southampton and re-joined his regiment in the field on 30 December 1916.
It does appear there was a slight blip to Edward's usual good conduct when on 23 July 1917 a charge sheet registers that the Officer Commanding his regiment noted he was "Severely reprimanded by C.O. for (1) When on active service being out of bounds contrary to orders (2) Producing a false pass to the M.F.P."
By the end of 1917, Edward was experiencing bitterly cold weather and had arrived in billets that had been left in a terrible state. The war diary describes the conditions:
|Date||Summary events and Information|
|3rd Dec 1917||4th Dragoon Guards moved back to BRAY SUR SOMMES from LONGAY-ESNES. "Regiment paraded with led horses at 8.30 a.m. and marched via BOUCHAVESNES, where the Regiment took up the same billets, as last time, arriving at 3.0 p.m. Weather very cold. Dismounted Battalion remained in the line. 2/Lt de Pass proceeded to Dismounted Brigade H.Q. as galloper to the G.O.C." The 4/D.G. faced some changes but largely went through routine days of cold and damp in billets.|
|4th Dec||The 4/D.G. had to find 90 horses to go to Egypt together with 1 N.C.O. and 6 O.R. as "Conducting Party".|
|7th Dec||We are again called on to find Candidates for Temporary Commission in the Infantry, one Candidate, No.14281 Private ALLAN being selected by the Commanding Officer today.|
|17th Dec||Very cold, ground covered with snow. Men employed clearing roads, all German prisoners also used for this purpose. Routine continued each day.|
|23rd Dec||The Regiment paraded in BRAY, at 8.15 a.m. and marched to the DOINGT Area [COURCELLES]. ..... Road very slippery, and marching was very difficult especially for transport, the Regiment, however, completed the march without any casualties owing to falls. On arrival in the new area, the huts were found to have been completely stripped of all wood fitting, in fact everything that could be burnt had been removed. Weather extremely cold.|
|25th Dec||COURCELLES: The Brigade stood to all day at 1 hours' notice to move mounted. That is the standing order, at present whilst in this area. One Brigade in the Division stands to each day, making every third day for each Brigade. We are having Xmas dinner and celebrating tomorrow in consequence. Weather not so cold during the day but heavy fall of snow in the evening, and very hard frost again during the night.|
COURCELLES: "Leaders for the day to carry out improvements to huts and stables. There is a great lack of material and the conditions under which the men are living are very bad. When their huts are dry it is only because they are freezing, as soon as the Huts get warmed up inside the water pours through the roofs." A request went out the next day for Royal Engineers to be drawn on for help.
The New Year opened in much the same vein. Routine activities with very cold weather:
|Date||Summary events and Information|
|4th Jan 1918||COURCELLES: The Commanding Officer held a Conference of Squadron Leaders in Orderly Room at Office hour, to discuss training. Each Cavalry Division will be out of the line for a clear month at a time, and will carry out individual training. A Regimental Canteen has been started and is being run by Lieut A.P. Williams. Its main object, at present is to provide warm drinks for the men during the day. Lieuts. Rawle, Cobbett, and Sanderson, Sergts Loads, Tayson and Bailey, proceeded today to DAOURS for the 1st Course, at the Divisional School."|
|15th Jan||The Dismounted Battalion was called on to ready for a move into the forward area with a clear warning that "the majority of casualties at this time of the year were due to trench feet." Forward parties went out.|
|16th Jan||Horses were being treated for mange. Thawing led to the ground worsening for the horses.|
|23rd Jan||"A working party of 1 Officer and 50 Other Ranks and 6 G.S. wagons ordered by Brigade started work on standings for water troughs. The mud round the troughs is above the horses' fetlocks and the ground gets worse daily. 1 other rank sent up as reinforcement to Dismounted Regiment.|
|24th Jan||Working party for water troughs as for yesterday with exception of 25 other ranks instead of 50. Routine as usual. Lieut. A.N. Odling re-joined from Equestrian School.|
|25th Jan||The Veterinary Officer inspected the horses of "A" Squadron in the morning and found 9 more cases of suspected mange, 3 of which he evacuated to the Mobile Veterinary Section. The Dismounted Regiment returned to Camp at 9.30 p.m.|
The 24 January 1918 marked the day Edward experienced his first symptoms of the heart condition that finally claimed his life in 1919. On reporting sick with shortness of breath he was evacuated via the 7th Cavalry Ambulance, the 6th General Hospital in Rouen, and the hospital ship "Western Australia", arriving back in England on 3 February 1918.
Edward was admitted to the Bermondsey Military Hospital in Ladywell, Lewisham and on 11 February a report was made where he was already being processed for discharge. The report read:
Disability in respect of which invaliding is proposed: V.D.H [Valvular Disease of the Heart] 293
No previous history of Rheumatism or Scarlet Fever. No history of shortness of breath before enlistment. Present illness began on 25th January 1918, when patient reported sick for shortness of breath.
On admission to this hospital on 4th February 1918, the patient complained of Cardiac pain, shortness of breath and palpitation. The heart presented a marked double Aortic bruit [an unusual sound], the pulse was collapsing and capillary pulsation was visible.
Causation: Endocarditis; Attributable to Service during present War.
On 4 February 1918 he was put under the auspices of the Scottish Cavalry Depot. On the 18 February 1918 it was confirmed that due to his 100% disability, he would be discharged, under his original regiment (4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish)) effective from 7 March 1918. On this date Edward was awarded the Silver War Badge. [See Appendix 1]
It appeared that Edward's true age at the time of enlistment had remained undetected and he is recorded as being discharged age 30 years and 11 months and not his true age of 28 years 11 months.
Edward had served his country for 12 years and 108 days.
He came home to Lynsted where he lived with his brother Henry, in Church Cottages, Ludgate Lane. He was awarded a pension of £1 7s 6d (£1.37½p) for 26 weeks. In September 1918, he was reassessed. He had obviously benefitted, if only slightly, from his release from duties as it was stated there had been a 20% improvement in his condition. This improvement meant his pension was reduced to £1 2s 0d (£1.10p) a week (roughly £56 in today's money). This was to be reassessed in September 1919. We have no evidence the reassessment took place, but just 2 months after the proposed date, Edward died of his condition. [See Appendix 2]
Edward was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory medals. [See Appendix 1]
Edward is buried in Lynsted Churchyard Extension. His headstone holds the inscription "In memory of our dear brother. Gone but not forgotten". His age is given as 29 but he was actually 30.