Ralph Henry Edwards was born in December 1883, the oldest of six children to Charles and Emma. Charles was a house painter from Somerset, and raised his family in the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare.
When he left school, Ralph followed in his father’s footsteps, taking over the business when Charles passed away in 1909. By the time of the census two years later, Ralph was living with his mother Emma, his two younger brothers and Emma’s brother Harry. Harry was also a house painter, while Ralph’s siblings were working a grocer’s assistants. The family were living in a five-room, semi-detached house within walking distance of the town centre.
War was on the horizon, and Ralph was keen to do his part. Full details of his service are no longer available, but what is certain is that he enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment and was assigned to the 8th (Service) Battalion. Initially formed in Bristol, the battalion spent the first year of the war on home soil, before being sent to France in July 1915.
By the middle of the war, Ralph had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. He transferred over to the Labour Corps and was attached to the 106th Prisoner of War Company. Initially, German POWs had been shipped to England, but by 1916 those with useful skills were retained in France and drafted into the Forestry Companies, Army Service Corps and Royal Engineers. Corporal Edwards’ role would have been to oversee such men. (Whether this was in France or back in England is unclear.)
At this point, Ralph’s trail goes cold. He served out the war, passing away back at home on 11th March 1919, although the cause of his death has been lost to time. He was 35 years of age.
Ralph Henry Edwards lies at rest in the Milton Cemetery in his home town of Weston-super-Mare.