Edgar Allan

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 15216, 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 25th September 1915, aged 26.

Born at Thorne, Edgar was one of the eight children of Robert and Marie Allan. His mother died when he was only three and his father remarried the same year. His step-mother and siblings were itinerant farm labourers working on variious farms in the Thorne area, whilst his father had an extremly varied working life, being at various times; a tailor, colliery labour and canal bargeman.

Edgar was also a farm labourer when he married Eliza Theaker of Crowle in 1909. In 1911 the couple were living with his mother-in-law in North Street. They are recorded as having one child who had died in infancy.

Edgar enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Scunthorpe in 1914 and arrived in France on 1st June 1915. Probably as a reinforcement for the 2nd Lincoln’s who were rebuilding from their heavy losses suffered at the Battle of Aubers Ridge. A disastrous action notably only for the award of the first Victoria Cross to a member of the Regiment.

In September 1915 the Allied High Command decided to stage their ‘Big Push’ at Loos. However in order to ensure the best possible chance of success, they also decide to stage several simultaneous, smaller ‘diversionary’ attacks in other areas of the front line to attempt to confuse the German’s as to where the main attack was.
One of these, known as the Action of Bois Grenier, involved the 2nd Lincoln’s. At 4.29am on 25th September 1915, a sunken mine was detonated, folowed a minute later by 2nd Lincoln’s ‘going over the top’ to attack the village of Le Bridoux. They captured the village in their first rush but throughout the day were pushed back by a series of German counter-attacks. In total the 2nd Lincoln’s suffered three hundred and thirty two casualties at Bois Grenier, among them Edgar Allan participating in his first major action.

Edgar has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Initally posted as missing in action it was not until a year later that the army informed Edgar’s wife that he was presumed killed in action. He was remembered in a joint memorial service with Ralph Jaques at St Oswald’s Church in October 1916.