This story is the result of an investigation of documents held by Surrey History Centre. The file (SHC ref. CC7/4/4, nos. 1-50) contains correspondence and insurance claims on behalf of Surrey County Council Education Department employees who had been killed in action during the Great War. The cases date from 1915-1918.
Case 8: Edmund William Betts
Leading an apparently humble life, Edmund’s father claimed his son had few personal items, listing only a watch, clothes, and some books as his possessions. His father, a retired surveyor, was to be 70 years old on his next birthday at the time of Edmund’s death. He was looked after by his daughter, who stayed with him at his small property in Gillingham. However he stated that he had been receiving £3 a month from Edmund’s salary. Edmund had been working as an Assistant Teacher.
In a letter from Corporal P.C. Burnand, Edmund’s death was said to be a result of the shock and exposure from a heavy shell bursting close by. He described his friend as a ‘fine chap and well loved and respected by all who knew him’.