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Metcalfe, E., Pte., 1915

Strand Military Cemetery: Pauline Priano

Strand Military Cemetery: Pauline Priano

In Strand Military Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium, is the Commonwealth War Grave of 11565 Private Edward Metcalfe serving with the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry who died 25/05/1915.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following

Edward Metcalfe was the youngest of 3 known children, the offspring of John Metcalfe born 1861 in Scotland and his wife Elizabeth native of Catterick, Yorkshire, born 1863. In 1901 the family were living at 12, Northwell Street, Hartlepool, where John was a labourer supporting his wife, daughter Mary born 1891, Robert 1893 and Edward, June 21st 1896 all at Stockton, North Yorkshire.

August 28th 1911 Edward Metcalfe enlisted at Sunderland and assigned as Private 7517 to the 4th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, Special Reserve where he underwent special training in musketry, June 8th 1912 attending their annual training camp whilst maintaining his employment in civilian life. March 11th 1913 he was discharged from the West Yorkshire Regiment as a consequence of having enlisted at Sunderland in the 2nd Battalion of the Regular Army as Private 11565 Durham Light Infantry, joining his regiment at Colchester. Private Metcalfe underwent medical treatment twice in England, at Colchester, August 15th-22nd 1913 for conjunctivitis and at Litchfield, July 8th-August 17th 1914 for iritis, inflammation of the coloured ring of the eye.

When war was declared with Germany July 28th 1914 the regiment was at Whittington Barracks, Litchfield, attached to the 18th Brigade, 8th Division. They were mobilised August 4th and joined by the first reservists and veterans of the Boer War which brought the battalion to full strength.

The main body of men departed for the front and were the first D.L.I. battalion to see action, September 20th 1914, at Troyon sustaining the first D.L.I. casualties of the war. Private Metcalfe joined his regiment in the field, October 22nd 1914 as part of reinforcements after the battalion had lost by October 80% of the original force that had landed at St. Nazaire. Once at full strength they participated at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, Match 10th-15th 1915, in the Artois region of France but moved to the Ypres salient in Belgium when the Germans attacked at The Second Battle of Ypres, April 22nd 1915, where they were joined by the newly arrived Territorial of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. As part of the 50th Division in the following months they sustained repeated attacks by the Germans.

Private 11565 Edward Metcalfe Durham Light Infantry was killed in action, May 25th 1915 and initially buried at Le Bizet Convent Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert, at map reference SL 36. c. 14. a. 40. 6. s.

After the Armistice at the request of the French and Belgian Governments smaller concentrations and isolated graves were brought into larger cemeteries. Le Bizet consisted of 88 burials from the United Kingdom and one from Canada who fell between October 1914-October 1915. Their remains were exhumed and brought into Strand Military Cemetery, 12.5 kilometres from Ypres, Belgium, October 20th 1920 and re-buried with military honours. Private 11565 Edward Metcalfe Durham Light infantry is at rest grave X. E. 10. He was 19 years of age and single.

At the time of his demise the whereabouts of his father and mother who had been living at Travellers, Low Spennymoor off Ridley Buildings, and sister Mary were unknown, therefore, his brother Robert, resident at 68, George Street, Spennymoor, County Durham, was informed of his death, June 7th 1915. His response of June 11th 1915 enabled his father to be traced to 15, Back Queen Street, Spennymoor. John Metcalfe had received all of Edward’s personal effects and money due to his son from the Army by January 28th 1916. Edward’s brother received his awards of the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal during 1919.

The assignment of Edward’s awards to his brother could indicate that their father had died. An entry of death for a John Metcalfe aged 57 years, (1861-1918), was made in 1918, district of Bishop Auckland. Details as regards Elizabeth Metcalfe, Robert and Mary, unknown.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Edward Metcalfe is remembered at Spennymoor on S131.02 and S131.11

He is also remembered in The DLI Book of Remembrance page 129

The CWGC entry for Private Metcalfe

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk