Edward Joseph Stenner, according to the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, was born on the 13th August 1912, the son of Edward & Elizabeth Stenner, (nee Noels). On the Register Edward Joseph was a Hairdresser in a Private Business and he was unmarried.
The family were living at 32 Bridge Street,Shotton,Chester (Post code in those days was Chester, now Flintshire). His father Edward was born on the 23rd June 1875 and was a Steel Works Furnaceman Heavy Worker, his mother Elizabeth’s date of birth was the 16th September 1876 and as most married women’s occupation on the Register was noted as – “Unpaid Domestic Duties.“ I believe that Edward Joseph’s siblings, also on the Register were, Victor A. Stenner, date of birth, 30th August 1914, occupation – Sheet Worker Pickling Process Heavy Worker, whereas his sister, Lorraine E. Stenner’s date of birth was the 19th March 1917 and her occupation was Temporary Shop Assistant, General Stores, they were both single. Lorraine’s surname was crossed off and the name Stamper was written, this usually implies that Lorraine had married after the 1939 Register, see below.
I find Edward Joseph’s parents, Edward & Elizabeth had married in 1903, at St. George’s Church, Brandon Hill, Bristol, Edward’s father was George Stenner and Elizabeth’s father was Joseph Noels.
I then find them on the 1911 census living at 56, Salisbury Street, Shotton, Flintshire, the family had moved for the steelworks, Messrs John Summers & Sons at Hawarden Bridge Steelworks.
I do not have any information of Edward Joseph’s early childhood and teens, so any information would be gratefully received.
Head of the household was Edward, 35, Ironworker, and his wife Elizabeth, 34, tell us that they had been married 8 years and 4 children had been born, all still living and that they had both been born in Bristol, Gloucestershire. Their children Florence May*,5, Lily Victoria**, 4, Violet Elizabeth***, 3 and Phyllis****, 1, all born in Shotton make up the family. There is a Boarder in the household, a Jessie Jones, a Widow age 50 born in Knighton, Brecon.
*Florence May was to marry Edward Morris in 1931
**Lily Victoria was to marry George Ledson Coppack in 1933.
*** Violet Elizabeth was to marry Edward Thomas Liversage in 1933.
****Phyllis Maud was to marry Robert Arthur Skitt in 1933 – All in St. Ethelwold’s Church. Shotton.
As can be seen by the 1939 Register, Edward Joseph was to have more siblings and I believe that one Lorraine Emily, 23, married Albert Edward Stamper, 30 on the 13th May 1940 in St. Ethelwold’s Church Shotton.
At the same church, a year later on the 17th May 1941, Joseph Edward Stenner, 28, R.A.C, married Margaret Ellen Jones, 25, both of 32, Bridge Street. The Parish Registers show that Edward Joseph’s father Edward Stenner was a Steelworker and Margaret Ellen’s father was David Jones a Labourer. The marriage was after Banns and the witnesses were Victor Albert Stenner & Clarice May Jones.
In 1943 they were blessed with the birth of their daughter Valerie (Hawarden Flintshire (Mold)HAW/57A/39), but sadly she would only be an infant when he died the following year in 1944.
I believe that Edward Joseph ‘s father, Edward, died in 1950, so would have been alive to suffer the loss of his son. (Hawarden Flintshire (Mold) HAW/33A/14).
I do not know when Edward Joseph enlisted, but his name is on the Casualty List No. 16 as being Killed in Action on the 7th September 1944. Along with 110 other men who died on that day.
Taken from the CWGC History notes:-
“German forces returned to Belgium in May 1940, and occupied Antwerp until its liberation by the Allies on 4 September 1944. The town and port were secured, but it was some weeks further before the approaches from the North Sea could be cleared of German resistance.”
I asked the WW2 Talk Forum if they could help finding out what happened to Edward Joseph.
Small excerpt of war diary for the 7th September 1944. – Harkness – 23H War Diary: – “Sep 5 18.00 hours. Move to harbour at Pulhof, 6692 for rest and refit.
14.00 hours. “A” Squadron sent to capture bridges and cross Antwerp canal north of Antwerp but all advance beyond railway bridge 6898 impossible owing to heavy Anti/tank and infantry opposition.
Sep 6 & 7 Other small enemy activity and infiltrations in the Division area make it impossible for the Regiment as a whole to take advantage of the incredible generosity and enthusiasm of the people. 2/Lieut Cottrell and 4 Other Ranks killed in action.”
WW2talk – Answer from stolpi 11th March 2018
“001 STENNER EJ 7937374 23RD HUSSARS 07/09/1944 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS COLL. GRAVE IV. E. 15-18.
KIA near Merxem/Antwerp – the abortive crossing of the Albert Canal by 4th KSLI near the Schijnpoort bridge; the 3rd Monmouthshires supported by tanks of the 23 Hussars tried to come to the rescue of the hard pressed tiny bridgehead of the KSLI, by a flanking attack through the dock area. The attempt failed and some tanks were lost, among which the lead tank of ‘A’ Squadron commanded by 2nd Lt. R.H. Cottrell near the railroad. Cottrell’s tank was knocked out and he and his entire crew were killed.
Map of the action taken from ‘Autumn Gale’ (See below)
The other crew members were:
001 COTTRELL RH 326618 23RD HUSSARS 07/09/1944 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS I. D. 14.
002 WILLIAMS ROL 7940655 23RD HUSSARS 07/09/1944 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS COLL. GRAVE IV. E. 15-18
003 COLLINS RJ 14231880 23RD HUSSARS 07/09/1944 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS COLL. GRAVE IV. E. 15-18.
004 SMITH CFC 7951004 23RD HUSSARS 07/09/1944 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS COLL. GRAVE IV. E. 15-18.”
If you look at the concentration files tab in the above link you have a small story.*
*Looking at the 6 GWGC Concentration Report Forms (1 and 2), It looks as though Edward Joseph and 3 other men killed escaping the tank, were buried as “Unknown Soldiers,” possibly on the day they died, the 7th September 1944, then they were identified and reburied on the 2nd October 1946 in a collective grave in the Schoonselhof British Cemetery. GWGC Concentration Report Forms (3) tells us a little more of where the tank was – “Tank on left hand side of rd. – Nr. Rly bridge, Merxem.”
Stolpi 12 March 2018 – “The really sad thing is that the crew – as the fragment from the 23rd Hussars history in Harkness post mentions – was killed in bailing out; they were shot while trying to escape from the tank after it was hit. Unfortunately this was not uncommon during WW2.”
Sherman Tank Crew – Drawing (See below)
harkness, Mar 13, 2018 Report# – An account of the action by Sgt Bertie McCully (1923-2012), 3rd Troop, A Squadron, 23H. See Photo of Bertie and Crew.
“At 14.00 hours my troop was sent with another troop of A Squadron and the Squadron Leader, to cross the various bridges in the city outskirts and help the KSLI who had established a bridgehead but were having trouble with some Mk. IV tanks. The leading troop came to a railway arch, which had wires across attached to some explosive device.
The REs were called to remove this obstacle. As dusk approached a number of German infantrymen, dug in deeply became belligerent, firing bazookas, striking a couple of tanks and causing showers of sparks but fortunately not penetrating. One of our tanks with Bob Walmsley as driver was sent across an allotment plot, where the German slit trenches were, to try to ‘stop their little game’. It got stuck in the soft ground. There then came a message on the wireless for me to take my tank over and tow them out. As I went across this patch, I thought it advisable to drop a hand grenade into each trench to keep the occupants quiet. The enemy was obviously observing us, probably from a large building beyond the railway embankment as, immediately I dismounted to attach the towrope to Bob’s tank, mortar bombs started arriving. The job was eventually accomplished and I gave my driver instructions to start pulling. The result was that we also got stuck. It was getting dark by this time so we were informed that a section of infantry would give us covering fire while we dismounted to leave the tanks for recovery the next morning. I instructed my crew to each take a blanket, greatcoat and small pack. From the storage bin I grabbed one of the bottles we had acquired on our journey. The other crew decided to sleep in an air raid shelter but it did not seem such a comfortable place to spend the night. So I led my crew into a dock building and, by feel, as we were unable to show any light, came to what I assumed was an office door. It needed a ‘little persuasion’ by my army boot to gain access. As I felt around the room there were several desks and chairs. We cleared sufficient floor space to lay down our blankets, use our small pack as a pillow and cover our bodies with the greatcoats. The bottle I had selected was a ‘bubbly’, which I opened and passing it along the line, we each had a good ‘swig’ before settling down for the night. At first light I awoke and looked around our room. On one wall was a picture of Adolf and on another one of a Messerschmidt shooting down a Spitfire. It was the German Port Control Office that we had entered. Fortunately, its occupants had left the previous day. We got out to greet the Squadron fitters with their recovery vehicle. It was able to stay on the metalled road but by means of a long towrope and winch pulled the two tanks out of the soft ground. Orders had been given to continue the advance but as soon as Lt. Cotterell’s tank moved beyond the railway a German gun knocked it out and all members of the crew were killed. As further progress was impossible, it was decided to withdraw the KSLI from the bridgehead and we returned to harbour in Antwerp.
On the 8th September we diverted to Beeringen to protect the right flank of the Guards, who had been given the job of trying to reach Arnhem.”
Many thanks to the WW2talk Forum for their aid in telling Edward Joseph’s story.
Also many thanks to https://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=246796&sid=bf623df9a7019d18a7e82f26217fc23d#p246796 and http://users.telenet.be/Atlantikwall-15tharmy/Liberation.htm#3_October_1944
Edward Joseph made the supreme sacrifice for us all and must be remembered, as his family remembered him by putting his name forward to be added to the War Memorial for perpetuity.
The families of William Arthur Liversage and Thomas Henry Wimbush, who are on the Sandycroft War Memorial and with Edward Joseph Stenner are also on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial, and who all gave their lives for us all, are joined through family ties, as the clues were in the last newspaper cutting of the “Roll of Honour,” below, from the 7th October 1944, and I was able to join them together.