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Person Details
Edgar was born in 1895 at Ordsall, Retford and was the son of John Edward a railway crossing gatekeeper for the Great Northern railway and Jane Heeds, of 40, Ollerton Rd., Retford, John and Jane had six children, four sons Albert, William, Henry, and Edgar and two daughters Nellie and Alice. In the 1911 census the family are living at 40 Ollerton Road, Retford. Edgar is 16 years of age and a brewer's porter. One of Edgar's sisters was engaged to Arthur Frary, who lived a few doors away on Ollerton Road. Arthur served in the Sherwood Foresters and was killed on 10 April 1915, a few days before his friend, Edgar, was killed.
He was a choir boy at All Hallows, Ordsall. In 1911 he was a brewer's porter.
13 Apr 1915
1613659 - CWGC Website
1st Bn York and Lancaster Regiment
Edgar's service record survives, it shows he enlisted at Sheffield on 28th October 1911 when he was 18 years and 11 months of age. He was on home service from 28th October 1911 until 3rd March 1913 during which time he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 9th September 1912. From the 4th March 1913 he went with his battalion to India where he served . Following the outbreak of War the battalion returned to England on 18th November 1914. From the 18th November 1914 he was on home service until he and his battalion finally went out to France to join the British Expeditionary Force on 14th January 1915. On 11th January 1915 he was promoted to Corporal however he was killed while at the front on 13th April 1915 and although buried at the time, the grave was lost and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium. Pte Heeds and Pte Frary Retford Times 23 April 1915 It is our painful duty to record the deaths of two more Retford Soldiers – one a Regular and the other a Territorial. They are Cpl Edgar Heeds (20) of the 1st York and Lancaster, and Pte Arthur Frary of the 8th Sherwood Foresters. The lads had been great friends before they donned the King’s uniform. Frary was killed on April 10th and Heeds on April 12th. Miss Heeds, sister of Cpl Heeds, was Cpl Frary’s fiancée and both families live within a few doors of each other on Ollerton Road. Mrs Heeds and Mrs Frary both received letters from their brave sons on the very day they died. The youths were esteemed by a wide circle of friends and many letters of sympathy have been received by their parents – too many to acknowledge personally. They were dutiful sons and Mr And Mrs Heeds and Mr and Mrs Frary are greatly comforted by the reflection that though their deaths left them sorrowing their high examples are worthy to be followed by all that are able to serve their country. Cpl Heeds was a pupil at the Council School, Thrumpton and was a choirboy at All Hallows’ Church, Ordsall and before joining the forces some four years ago he had been employed by Messrs R A Bradshaw and Sons offices at the Worksop and Retford Brewery Co.'s offices. When war broke out he was with his Regiment in India. He was sent back to England and back sent to the front in January. He spent four days leave of absence with his parents in the first week of this year. Cpl Heeds’ father, who is a gatekeeper at Babworth Crossing, has been employed for 31 years on the Great Northern Railway. The father of the last named, who died last year at the age of 84 years, had lived in Ordsall for 63 years and was the oldest inhabitant at his death. Mr and Mrs Heeds have a large number of relatives serving with the forces, and a nephew of Mrs Heeds, Pte W Clark of the Lancashire Fusiliers, has received the following letter from Major-General H F M Wilson, “Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander have informed me that you have distinquished yourself by conspicuous bravery in the field. I have read their report with much pleasure”. Pte Clarke was a reservist and lived at Dinnington with his aunt, Miss Clark, a sister of Mrs Heeds. He is also well known in Torworth and Ranskill district, having lived with his grandparents, the late Mr and Mrs Marshall, old residents of the former village. Mr and Mrs Heeds have received no official intimation of their son's death but his Company Officer has sent the following letter:- “Dear Mrs Heeds, I am sorry to have to tell you that your son’s death took place on Monday 12th April as we were coming from the trenches, having been relieved by another regiment. He was shot through the head so he suffered no pain at all. He was buried with several others of the Company near our trench headquarters. I shall miss him as he was a very promising N C O. Please accept my sincere sympathy in your great loss”. Mr and Mrs Frary have also not received any official intimation of their son’s death. But Lieut E C A James has sent the following letter,”I am writing to tell you how sorry I am that your son, Pte Frary, has been killed in action. You will of course have heard the news before you receive my letter, so I hope that some of your grief has passed away. Your son, although he came from Retford, was not in my Company, but I have had full particulars given to me of his death. He is the first Retfordian, of the Territorial forces to have given up his life for his King and country and I hope this will give you some slight consolation. I have been to see his grave. He was buried last night by the Chaplain. I tried to get to the funeral, but I was too hard at work to get away. His grave is with those of many of his comrades, in the cemetery, where all our British officers and men lie who have been killed in action in the neighbourhood; it is a very pretty spot. The grave is very well taken care of and already has a cross of primroses and cowslips placed on it. I know it will be well looked after as all the graves out here are. Please accept my sympathy in your loss. Your son was brave and I hope his high example will inspire many at home to come out here and share with us the duty which every man owes to his country." Leiut-Colonel Fowler also wrote, “I am very sorry to write to tell you that your son, A Frary, was shot dead in the trenches yesterday morning and died immediately. He will be buried tonight in the Military Cemetery at Kemmel, by the Rev J P Hales, our Brigade Chaplain. These sad events are inevitable in war, but I want you to know how sorry I am for you in this trouble. Your son has died for his King and country in defence of the right, and no man can die better. I believe he was universally loved in his Company." Mr Chas Applby, his foreman at the Northern Rubber Works, where deceased was formerly employed, has sent the following letter of sympathy, “I have been closely associated with your brave boy, Arthur for seven years. Will you therefore allow me to offer my deep and heartfelt sympathy for you in your great trouble. It may be a little comfort for you to know how highly he was esteemed by his fellow workmen and myself, and I can assure you that we all feel very deeply the death of one of our comrades. Speaking as his foreman I might tell you he was the best pressman I have ever had. He was always steady, painstaking and straightforward, trying to do his work so that it is a credit to himself and to the firm. You have lost a good and brave son and this firm has lost a sound honest workman. I shall always remember when he came to me he was going to rejoin the colours. He said he had considered the matter seriously and he had come to the conclusion that it was “my bounden duty” to go. I was so moved by his intense earnestness that I could scarcely find words to reply. Many times I have thought of those words “My Bounden Duty”. I shall never forget them as long as I live, and I shall always cherish thoughts of affection and admiration for that brave boy who went to lay down his life for his country. No honour is to great for such large hearted heroes." Pte Frary (22) is the first “Retford Terrier” to be killed. His father is a porter at the Retford G N R station.
Ordsall St Alban's parish magazine, May 1915: 'Three young soldiers from the parish – Private E Heeds, Private A Frary, Lieutenant J Eddison - have fallen in battle.' (Retford Local Studies Library, ref 942.52 ORD)
Remembered on