CWG: Driver Edgar Wilcox

Driver Edgar Wilcox

Edgar James Wilcox was born in Frome, Somerset, on 2nd February 1885, and was the third of six children to Robert and Louisa Wilcox. Robert was a coal dealer and he and Louisa raised their family in the town of their own birth.

When le left school, Edgar found work on a local farm, tending to, and milking the cows. He met a woman called Ellen Snelgrove and, on 31st October 1908, the couple married at the parish church in Ellen’s home village of Corsley, just over the border in Wiltshire.

By the time of their wedding, Edgar had found employment as a carman for the local railways. The young couple set up home in Frome, and went on to have four children, Edward, Phyllis, Gladys and Cecil.

War was coming to Europe, and, when the conflict broke out, Edgar initially enlisted in the National Reserves in Frome. From there, he joined the Royal Engineers and was assigned as a Driver in the Wessex Regiment Field Company. In his new regiment, he was first based in Taunton, but soon moved to the East Coast.

It was while Driver Wilcox was here that German carried out a number of Zeppelin raids on the east of the country. One of these raids, in the spring of 1916, proved too much for Edgar and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He was brought back to Somerset for treatment and admitted to a hospital in Bath.

A contemporary newspaper picked up his story:

On Thursday last week Mrs Wilcox paid her husband one of her periodical visits. They spent several happy hours together, and in the afternoon he went to see her off by train. She then wishes him good-bye, when he seemed as usual, and Mrs Wilcox went to catch a train. It now seems that deceased did not return to the hospital, and after being missing for three days his body was found in the river at Bath.

Somerset Standard: Friday 4th August 1916

Driver Wilcox had taken his own life on 27th July 1916. He was just 31 years of age. An inquest was held and the verdict of ‘drowned’ was reached.

Edgar James Wilcox’s body was brought back to Frome: he was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Holy Trinity Church in the town.

Driver Edgar Wilcox

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