Edwin William Chellingsworth

Rank: Fitter
Service No: 925570

Date of Death:

Age: 38
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery 1st City of London Brigade
Cemetery Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium


Edwin was born on 28th February 1880, with his birth being registered in the Holborn district of London. His parents were Edwin (1845-1922) and Julia, nee Hubert (1848-1917), Chellingsworth. He had two siblings: James Edwin (1877-1919) and Esther Emma (b.1878). He attended St Mary’s CE Primary School, Willesden, and later Netherwood Street School (which became known as Harben School) in Camden.

Between 1899 and 1902, Edwin served with the South African Constabulary, a force raised by the British to maintain order and security in the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal. For this, he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal and the King's South Africa Medal. The former was a campaign medal which was awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, civilians employed in official capacity and war correspondents who served in the Second Boer War. The latter was a campaign medal which was awarded to all British and Colonial military personnel who served in the Second Boer War, who were in the theatre on or after 1 January 1902 and who had completed 18 months service in the conflict prior to 1 June 1902.

On 10th April 1909, Edwin, aged 29, married Ethel Edith Bird (b.1887) at St Mary-at-Finchley. The couple moved into 5 Rosemary Avenue, Finchley, and Edwin worked as a plumber. He joined the Royal Field Artillery, though medal rolls list him as being a gunner, rather than a fitter.

On 4th March 1918, Edwin was discharged due to sickness and being physically unfit and returned home to 76 Station Road, Finchley. His discharge papers reveal that he was considered to be a man of very good military character, ‘sober, steady and reliable’. The papers also give a rather detailed description of his physical appearance, being 5’10” with brown hair, grey eyes, a sallow complexion and a tattoo on his left forearm.

Edwin died one week after the war ended. Maybe he succumbed to his ‘sickness’ and/or the Spanish flu which was sweeping Britain. During the pandemic of 1918/19, a quarter of the British population were affected and the death toll was 228,000 in Britain alone.

At the time of Edwin’s death, his father was living at 7 Gordon Road, Finchley. His mother had predeceased him, dying in the Royal Free Hospital on 27th August 1917. With his older brother, who resided at 73 Dollis Park, Finchley, dying in Springfield Mental hospital, Wandsworth, south London, on 5th October 1919, his father had to bear the death of his wife and two sons within the space of just two years.