Edmund Holmes King

Rank Gunner
Service No 86519
Date of Death 19/10/1917
Age 31
Regiment/Service Canadian Field Artillery 17th Battery 3rd Brigade.
Cemetery Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, 15 kilometres west of Ypres, Belgium. The cemetery contains 1,556 Commonwealth burials. It was used by the 3rd Australian and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations, which were located nearby from September to December 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres. 

 

Edmund was born on the 3rd May 1886 in Bombay, India. His parents had seven other children, all of whom were born in India, except Geoffrey: Alexander (1879-1954), Gertrude (1880-1951), Edith (1882-1971), Harold (b.1884-1961), Stephen (1888-1962), Walter (b.1892-1981) and Geoffrey (1897-1996). At the time of the 1901 Census, all the family, apart from Alexander, resided at 46 Tollington Park, Islington. At the time of the 1911 Census, Edmund, a bank clerk, and his brother, Stephen, a civil engineer working in road construction, resided together at 19 Marriott Road, Tollington Park.

Having emigrated to Canada, Edmund enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery in Winnipeg on 2nd June 1915. On enlistment he gave his trade as ‘banker’ and is described as being 5ft 9in in height and having brown eyes and black hair. He states his religion as ‘Church of England’. On 18th August 1915, Edmund landed in Plymouth, England, having crossed the Atlantic on the S.S. Metagama.

Between 8th and 26th November 1915, he was a patient at the Canadian Military Hospital, Shorncliffe, Folkestone, Kent. On 10th November he was ‘complaining of rash on shoulder, very itchy at nights’, which was diagnosed as eczema. It had lasted three weeks and was then infected with vermin.

In mid-January 1916, Edmund arrived at Le Havre, France. Then, on 1st February 1916, he was admitted to No 8 Stationary Hospital, Wimereux, with a fractured right tibia, having, the day before, been kicked on his shin by a horse. A week later he was transferred on Hospital Ship Cambria to England and taken to the 4th Northern General Hospital, Lincoln, UK, which had beds for 41 officers and 1,126 other ranks. On 8th April he was moved to the Monks Horton Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Westhanger, Kent. He had considerable pain and disability in walking. On 4th May 1916, he was transferred to the Military Hospital, Shorncliffe. On 7th June 1916, he fell while playing and dislocated his left collar bone. On 3rd July, his medical notes say that ‘he has no further trouble with his clavicle – complains of some pain in his leg but is quite able to get around any distance’. On 8th July 1916, his case was considered by a medical board. It concluded that he would be fit to return to active duty after four weeks physical training. On 19th August he returned to Shorncliffe Military Camp but on 24th August he was readmitted to hospital with influenza. On 18th October Edmund arrived back in France and was attached to the 1st Canadian Division Armoured Column. A week later he was posted to 3rd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.

On 2nd June 1917 he was awarded a good conduct badge. On 18th October 1917, the brigade’s war diary records ‘Continued heavy shelling all day and night of the batterie, resulting in a number of casualties’, of which Edmund was one. He died a day later at the 44th Casualty Clearing Station of bomb wounds to his left leg, right hand and left foot. In his will he left just £70, which went to his brother, Stephen, who was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers.