b. 18/11/1883 St Albans, Hertfordshire. d. 02/05/1915 Ypres, Belgium
Edward Warner (1883-1915) was born at 36 Cannon Street, St Alban’s, Hertfordshire on 18th November 1883. His father was Mark Warner, a railway platelayer. His father married Anne Bibby, though the marriage was childless, and Anne passed away in 1880. Edward’s mother was Charlotte Maria Goodgame, and she and Mark lived as man and wife though no record can be found that they actually married. Edward had an older sister, Annie Maud, who was born in 1869, and it is believed that Mark was the father, although he would have been married to Anne at the time.
By 1901, Edward was working as a straw hat stiffer and was boarding with the Cullin family. He enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment late in 1903, serving in India until the Battalion returned to Britain in 1908 and then transferred to the Reserve. He was employed by the Deep Well Boring Works, St Albans Council and the General Post Office Telephones Department. Edward was recalled from the Reserve when war broke out, joined 1st Bedfordshire and went to France on 16th August 1914.
On 1st May 1915 near Hill 60, Ypres, Belgium, a trench had been vacated by British troops after a gas attack. Acting alone, Private Warner entered it in order to prevent the enemy taking possession. Reinforcements were sent to him, but could not reach him owing to the gas. Warner then left the trench and brought up more men, by which time he was completely exhausted. The trench defense held until the enemy attack ceased. Private Warner died shortly afterwards from the effects of gas poisoning.
Sadly, Edward’s initial burial place was lost after the war, and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. His Victoria Cross was posted to his mother on 20th July 1915, but the later was presented with the medal formally by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 16th November 1916. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the 1914 Star with “Mons” clasp, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. Edward never married, but was engaged at the time of his death to Maud Amelia Burton, who was a boot fitter.
When Edward’s mother died in 1939, the medals were bequeathed to his niece, Mrs Gwen Dixon, who presented the medals to Lieutenant Colonel Norbury, Commanding Officer Bedfordshire Regiment and Lieutenant Colonel Young, Regimental Secretary, at a ceremony in her home in Forest Gate, London on 20th June 1962. The medals are now held in the Bedfordshire & Herfordshire Regimental Museum, Wardown Park, Luton.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: BEDS/HERTS RGT MUSEUM, LUTON, BEDFORDSHIRE
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE - ON MENIN GATE MEMORIAL, YPRES. PANEL 31-33.
Edward Warner's VC on display at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Museum, Wardown Park, Luton.
St Albans War Memorial
War Illustrated, 18th September 1915