Researched and written by Anne Wright
Pte E C Nash
6th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment
Killed in action, 12.5.1917
Edward Charles Nash came from a long established Weybridge family; his ancestors can be traced back to at least 1750 with the birth in the town of his great grandfather Daniel Nash. His family also had a long relationship with St. James’ Church which extended to Edward: his parents were married there on 18 October 1884, he was baptised there on 13 December 1885 and his daughter, Rosemary Ellen was baptised there on 4 June 1911. His parents were Edward and Eliza (nee Chandler) Nash, his mother also being a native of Weybridge. Edward, their only child was born on 5 October 1885 and he went on to become a pupil of St James’ School (Baker Street). The family home in 1891 was at 8, Nut Cottages. Edward’s father was a gardener. By 1901 they had moved to 1, Dolphe Cottages in Waverley Road; Edward, having left school had become a telegraph messenger. Ten years later he was still at the same address with his widowed mother, his wife, Rose Rebecca (nee Saunders) and daughter. He was now a postman.
Edward enlisted in Weybridge but it is not clear when he did so. He did not receive the 1914-15 Star campaign medal so he did not serve in France until 1916 at the earliest. He was posted to the 6th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment of the 37th Brigade in the 12th (Eastern) Division. His battalion first went into the trenches on 25 June 1915 near Armentieres. This was a relatively quiet sector. They moved to engage in the Battle of Loos once the battle had started and went into the trenches on 3 October to play a supporting role in taking the Hohenzollern Redoubt. Edward may well have been with them when they took part in the Battle of Albert (1-13 July, 1916), the first phase of the Battle of the Somme. On 1 July they were in front line trenches NW of Albert ready to attack at dawn two days later. Some reached the German line but were cut down by machine gun fire others were halted by un-cut wire. There were heavy casualties. They attacked again on 6 July; 82 were killed and 23 wounded. The battalion then alternated between the Somme and Arras theatres. As early as January 1917 they were made aware that they would take part in what became known as the ‘Arras Offensive’ in the spring. Until April they were in and out of trenches at Arras and underwent specific training to prepare for the coming battles.
Edward was definitely with the battalion when they were billeted in cellars beneath Arras Museum on 3 April; the following day 10 were killed and 29 wounded by enemy shells. They went into the trenches on 5 April and attacked German trenches on the 9th. They achieved their objective but 6 were killed, 95 wounded and 19 reported missing. By the time they were relieved they had helped their division to advance some 4,000 yards. They were back in the front line on 7 May where they experienced a mostly quiet time until 12 May when they attacked as part of the Third Battle of Scarpe. They moved forward at 6pm and came under heavy shell fire. Edward was one of the 18 fatalities; the attack failed.
He has no known grave; Edward is commemorated on the Arras Memorial (Bay 2) with almost 35,000 others from the UK, S. Africa and New Zealand. His family remained in Weybridge; his mother died in 1934 and his daughter married Ernest Frederick Fan at St. James’ Church on 27 July 1935. At the time of her wedding Rosemary and her mother lived at 41, Waverley Road. Rose Nash did not remarry; she died in Surrey in 1961.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
St James’ School War Memorial Board 1914-1918, St James’ Church, Weybridge
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1937, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1918, www.ancestry.co.uk