Edward Britton was born in Bridgwater in 1870, one of nine children to Edward and Eliza Britton. Edward Sr was a mariner, and the family lived on the main road from the town to Bath.
There is a gap in the documentation for Edward Jr; when we next meet him on the 1911 census he is married with children of his own. His wife is Ada Olive Martin, the daughter of a bricklayer from Topsham in Devon. They had eight children, six of them girls, and, according to the document, Edward was working as a ‘deal carrier’, moving wood from the ships arriving in Bridgwater to the timber yard.
Sadly, Edward’s service records are also sparse. He enlisted in the Royal Engineers as a Sapper and, given his age, it is likely that this was not early in the conflict. He was involved in the Inland Water Transport division – given his father’s work as a mariner, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects provides a surprising insight into Sapper Britton. It gives the date of his death, but notes the cause as “Drowned, River Stour, Kent”. I have not been able to find out anything further – surprisingly, none of the contemporary newspapers report on the incident.
Sapper Britton’s death remains something of a mystery, as did his early life. He passed away on 26th August 1918, at the age of 48.
Edward Britton lies at rest in St John’s Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater, Somerset.