Sergeant 18660 Archie EDLEY D.C.M. – 1st Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment.
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1914-15 Star / British War Medal / Victory Medal / MID
Greek Military Cross.
Archie Edley was born in Sheffield c. 1889.
In 1901 he was living with his parents, William, a plumber, mother Elizabeth, brothers Herbert and Sydney and sister Ettie, at 7 Jenkinson Street, Sheffield. This street which was in the Kelvin/Upperthorpe area no longer exists but the picture below indicates how the area might have looked.
In 1911,the family hadn’t moved and were still at the same address. By now, Archie was 22 years old, single and a Mill Hand in a Steel Rod Mill.
Upon the outbreak of the First World War, Archie enlisted into the York and Lancaster Regiment and was posted to the 1st Battalion. He entered France on the 4th of May 1915 but in October, the battalion moved, first to Egypt and then to Salonika where they were to remain until the end of the war.
Archie was clearly a soldier of some substance as his subsequent conduct illustrates. Promoted to Sergeant he went on to demonstrate courage and leadership in abundance, recognised by the awards of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, Mention in Despatches and the unusual award of the Greek Military Cross.
The announcement of his Distinguished Conduct Medal first appeared in the London Gazette dated 3rd June 1918. On the 11th June of the same year, the London Gazette also announced that he had been ‘Mentioned in Despatches’
In the London Gazette of the 21st October 1918, the citation for his DCM was published thus :
‘FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY AND DEVOTION TO DUTY. ON ONE OCCASION WHILST IN CHARGE OF A COVERING PARTY HE WAS WOUNDED, BUT REMAINED AT HIS POST UNTIL RELIEVED. LATER, IN A PATROL ACTION, HE WAS AGAIN WOUNDED, BUT WITH GREAT COURAGE AND DETERMINATION HE DISREGARDED HIS INJURIES AND CONTINUED TO SET A FINE EXAMPLE OF COOLNESS AND STEADINESS UNDER FIRE TO ALL WITH HIM’.
Finally, in the London Gazette dated 21st July 1919, it was announced that he had been awarded the Greek Military Cross by His Majesty the King of the Hellenes.
Archie Edley was transferred to the Army Reserve on the 17th April 1919.
In civilian life he took up a jewellers and watch repairers shop in premises in London Road, Sheffield. I believe that these premises came to be known as ‘Edley, Atkins’ and were still trading in the 1960’s/70’s.
In the third quarter of 1924, Archie married Nellie Bagshaw at Sheffield.
S/3549 Pte Albert BAGSHAW 7th Battalion, Rifle Brigade.
Killed in action 11th October 1917
Medals etc :
1914-15 Star / British War Medal / Victory Medal
Memorial Plaque named to ‘Albert Bagshaw’
Albert was KILLED IN ACTION on the 11th October 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Albert was born in Sheffield c. 1893.
By trade a file-cutter, he enlisted at Sheffield on the 8th September 1914 and was posted to the Rifle Brigade.
At this time, his family, father William and mother, Mary was living at 137 Providence Road, Walkley.
He entered France on the 21st July 1915.
On November 30th (1915 or 1916?) Albert wrote a postcard home to ‘Nellie’ :
‘ Thanks for your letter received on the 29th. I am pleased to hear you are getting on alright at your new place. I shall be coming home on Saturday and I shall probably be home by dinnertime. We are having some lovely weather but a little cold. This card I am sending was brought by an old Col of ours who has been to see me two or three times. With best love to you all, I remain, yours truly, Albert ’
Obviously granted leave at some point, he married Nellie Davidson, a spinster, at St. Mary’s Church, Walkley, Sheffield on the 5th of March 1917. They had no children.
He was wounded in action on the 11th May 1917 – gunshot wound (this could of course mean, shrapnel)
He was killed in action on the 11th October 1917.
At this time the battalion were at Dickebusch, Flanders and then moved to ‘Bedford Camp’ (The location of Bedford House Cemetery today?) They then moved to the front line and the left sector of the Brigade front extending from the Menin Road to Reutelbeck was taken over. During this relief the enemy harassed the front line with artillery fire and about 40 casualties were sustained. Owing to the shelling and to the intense darkness and dreadful condition of the tracks the guides lost themselves and the relief was not completed until 2.00am having started out at 3.15pm.
During the next few days it became a ‘ very trying time for the men since no infantry action at all occurred and they had to sit under this continuous shelling which became intense at times.’
The battalion was finally relieved on the night of the 16th of October.
Albert’s death is recorded in the war diary along with many of his colleagues who died during this period.
At the time of his death, his widow, Nellie, was living at 95 Cromwell Street, Sheffield.
These medals were bought as a ‘family’ group but for the life of me I could not establish a connection. Typically, the answer was under my nose all the time as amongst the research I had so assiduously gathered was the record of Archie Edley’s marriage to Nellie Bagshaw in 1924.
I find it a fitting tribute to both men that Archie and Nellie’s family kept not only his medals etc together but also those of her former husband, Albert.