Edward Wallis moved from Rayleigh to Chelmsford as a toddler. After leaving school he worked as a clerk at Crompton’s electrical engineering factory in Chelmsford. He joined the army in May 1916. He was killed in action near Ypres in July the following year having previously been wounded. His home was in Victoria Road.


Private, B Company, 11th (Service) Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

Edward was killed in action the next day, 26th July 1917. The battalion war diary report for the day was as follows:

“Shelling was fairly heavy during the day. A 5.9 shell dropped on a party of B Company killing 8 and wounding 8. Our total casualties for the day were 9 killed and 17 wounded.”

Edward is buried at Bedford House Cemetery on the southern outskirts of Ypres in Belgium (Enclosure No.4, grave: X. A. 1).

On 17th August 1917 the Essex Weekly News carried the following family announcement:

“Wallis. - Killed in action on July 26th, Pte. E. Wallis, Queen’s R.W.S., dearly-loved second son of Mr. and Mrs. Wallis, 13, Victoria-rd., Chelmsford. Deeply mourned. Faithful till death.”

The same edition also reported:

“Pte. Edward Wallis. Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regt., who was killed in action on July 26, was the second son of Mr. W. Wallis, 13, Victoria-rd., Chelmsford. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, had previously been wounded, but recovered. Formerly he was employed at the Arc Works, going there from school as an apprentice. He had been at the Front eleven months, joining up in May, 1916.”

On 24th August 1917 the Essex County Chronicle reported:

“Pt. Edward Wallis. Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regt., killed in action on July 26, was the second son of Mr. W. Wallis, 13 Victoria Road, Chelmsford. Deceased, who was 22, had previously been wounded. He was formerly employed at the Arc Works, where he went from school as an apprentice.”

Edward was born at Rayleigh in 1894, the second son of William Herbert Wallis and Catherine (sometimes ‘Kate’) Lucy Wallis. His father had been born in 1865 in Rayleigh; his mother c1864 in Rayleigh. They had married at St. Stephen’s Church in Battersea, Surrey on 20th July 1890. At the time his father was a 25 year-old baker. His bride was the same age, and both lived at 12 Batten Street in Battersea.

Edward’s seven siblings included Helen Kate Wallis (born in 1890 in Battersea, died in 1960), Arthur Wallis (born c1893 in Rayleigh), Ethel Kate Wallis (born in 1897 in Chelmsford, died in 1962) and Alice Maud Wallis (born in 1901 in Chelmsford, died in 1975). By 1911 three of them were to die.

The family moved from Rayleigh to Chelmsford in 1887. The 1901 census recorded six year-old Edward at 14 Victoria Road, Chelmsford (the right-hand property in the central terrace about), accompanied by his parents and three siblings. His father was an electrical engineer.

A decade later the 1911 census found 16 year-old Edward living with his parents and four siblings at the same address. Edward

was a clerk at Crompton’s electrical engineer’s having joined the firm from school. His father was a timekeeper at an electrical engineer’s; while sister Helen was employed in instrument work at an electrical engineer’s, and brother Arthur, an instrument maker at an electrical engineer’s.

Edward lived and enlisted in May 1916 at Chelmsford. and served as Private G/13297 in the 11th Battalion of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), a New Army battalion that had been formed by the Mayor of Lambeth in June 1915. It was attached to 123rd Brigade of the 41st Division and moved to France in May 1916. Edward went to the front around August 1916.

On 21st July 1917 Edward’s battalion moved to Westoutre south-west of Ypres in Belgium, and three days later onto De-Zon Camp. In mid afternoon of the following day, the 25th, the battalion went up to Imperial Trench to relieve the 23rd Battalion of the London Regiment. Owing to the bad state of the ground and heavy shelling the relief took ‘practically all night’. The trench, formerly a German trench, was situated south of Ypres between Zillebeke and Hollebeke.

Edward is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral. He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Edward’s cousins John Couzens and William Robert Couzens were both killed during the war. William was also Edward’s brother-in-law.

The 1918 register of electors listed Edward’s parents still at 13 Victoria Road (since demolished). Edward’s father died in 1942; his mother followed suit in 1952, aged 88.