Edgar Henry Clutton was born in 1898 in Cuddington. He was listed in the census of 1901 living with his family at Cuddington, Malpas. Head of the household was Henry 33- a Farmer. His wife, Lucy was 36. She came originally from Worthenbury. Their listed children were Harold 4, Edgar 4 months, Ruth 21 months and a baby daughter unnamed aged 1 month. Also recorded in the household was Randale Downs an 82 year old widowed Uncle.
The next census of 1911 records the family living in Chorlton, Malpas. There had been some big changes. The head of this family was Sarah Clutton an 84 year old widow. Her 46 year old daughter Martha who was a Dressmaker was part of the household (in fact, she filled the census form in). Resident too was Sarah’s son Henry. He was a 44 year old widower who was a Farm Labourer. Clearly his wife Lucy had died. His children were all listed as Sarah’s Grandchildren. Harold 16 and Edgar 14 were both Farm Servants. Ruth 11 and Doris 10 were at school.
Edgar’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk There is a lot of duplication but it is possible to learn something of his story from them. He enlisted and attested in May 1916 at Chester. He gave his address as Chortlton, Malpas. He was 19 years and 6 months old and his trade was ‘Cowman’ ( Cael y Cae Farm Malpas?). Edgar was 5 feet and 5 and a half inches tall, weighed 126lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion range of 2 and a half inches. The Attestation Form tells us that he expressed a request to serve in the 5th Cheshire regiment for the duration of the war. This was approved on the 24th May 1916. His original regimental number was 5040. He named his father Henry Clutton as his Next of Kin. The address for him at that time, was School House, Chorlton, Malpas.
He served his first 7 months of 1916 in the army ‘at home’ and was sent to France in the New Year. Edgar embarked from Southampton on the 18th January 1917 and disembarked the next day at Rouen. He was posted to the 16th Cheshires on the 21st January and joined them on the 25th. He was killed in action on the 3rd March 1917 – some 5 weeks later.
War Diaries tell of fierce fighting involving the 16th Cheshires on the 3rd March as German forces attempted to infiltrate the British line. Hand to hand fighting, constant bombardments eventually resulted in the Germans retiring under cover of smoke bombs. Five of the 16th Cheshires were killed that day. Amongst these was Edgar Clutton. (Thanks to Mr Clive R McDonald for some help with this).
He was buried originally in Meharicourt and the next of kin informed. At a later date he was moved to Fouquescourt British Cemetery.
The records include internal army correspondence instructing that any personal effects and medals were to be sent to Edgar’s father. There is a receipt signed by Edgar’s father, for his son’s two medals. After the war, before the commeorative plaque (‘Death Penny’) and scroll could be despatched the Army required the family to complete a form listing all of Edgar’s Living Relatives. This gives us a little glimpse into the family history. The Form tells us that
Edgar’s Father was Henry Clutton and the Mother was dead. Listed as a ‘Full Blood’ brother was Harold aged 25 living at Chorlton Lane Nr Malpas. His ‘full blood sisters’ were Ruth 21, Doris 19 and Lucy 16 also of Chorlton Lane. (Doris seems to have become Lucy). This was signed on the 7th July 1920 by Henry Clutton.
The Register of Soldiers’ Effects in which the Army calculated what moneys were owed to deceased soldiers, includes an entry for Edgar. A total of £9 ..8sh .. 9d was paid to Henry, Edgar’s father, in two separate payments.