30002 LCPL E. BAMBER. MM. K.O.R.L.R.
Edward Bamber was born in the third quarter of 1897 in Walton-Le-Dale (Brown Lane, Bamber Bridge). His father was William Bamber (b. 1865 in Longton), a farmer and market gardener. His mother was Isabella Anderton (b. 1861 in Walton-Le-Dale). William and Isabella were married in 1893 and they had three children: Hester (b. 1895), Edward and William (b. 1904). The family picture was probably taken in about 1908. In 1911, the family was living at Back Lane, Bamber Bridge, and Edward (aged 13) had recently started work as a cotton weaver. The newspaper article published at the time of his death says he later went to work for the Leyland Rubber Company, and that he enlisted in early 1916, aged 18.
His military records say Edward enlisted at Bury. He joined the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), he was assigned service number 30002 and posted to 8th Battalion. 8Bn came under orders of 76th Brigade in 3rd Division. 3rd Division fought on the Somme, at Albert, Bazentin (where they helped in the capture of Longueval) and at Delville Wood. It’s not known exactly when Edward joined them in the field, but he would certainly have been with them in the closing phase, at the Battle of the Ancre (13-18 November 1916).
3rd Division was heavily engaged in fighting throughout 1917, firstly at the Battle of Arras (First, and Second Battles of the Scarpe, the Battle of Arleux, and the Third Battle of the Scarpe). Edward was awarded the Military Medal during these operations. The announcement was made in the London Gazette on 14 August 1917 (Supplement 30234, page 8418). That record also says that Edward was previously 27234 Pte. E. Bamber in the Lancashire Fusiliers. This is slightly confusing, as the War Diary for 8Bn, dated 29 June 1917, says that 27234 Pte. E. Bamber was awarded the Military Medal. What’s clear, however, is that the award was made for gallantry during the operations of the Battle of Arras, probably during the very successful attack on 9-10 April, when 3rd Division took all their objectives, including the village of Feuchy.
Later in 1917, the Division was engaged in the Third Battle of Ypres, at the Menin Road (20-25 September) and Polygon Wood (26 September – 3 October). They were not engaged in the final phases, at Passchendaele, but they were in action again at Cambrai in November and December. At some stage, Edward was promoted to Lance Corporal.
In March 1918, when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, 8Bn KORLR were in the trenches between Wancourt and Guémappe, south-east of Arras. When shelling of the support lines began at 5am on 21 March, Bn headquarters at Wancourt quickly became untenable. The enemy attacked along the whole divisional front as far north as the River Cojeul, south of Arras (Arras being one of the major objectives of the offensive). Under further heavy shelling the following day, orders were given to begin a withdrawal. The front line trenches were successfully evacuated but were immediately occupied by the advancing Germans, who then continued their attack on the support trenches. Edward Bamber was killed in action on 23 March. He was just 20 years old (not 21 as the article states). The German attack continued until 29 March, when they were finally halted at Neuville-Vitasse, just 6km from their objective of Arras. The Bn suffered losses of 16 officers and 480 Other Ranks, killed, wounded or missing, between 21-29 March.
Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 30002
Award: Military Medal
Date of Death: 23/03/1918
Regiment/Service: King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 8Bn
Cemetery/memorial reference: Bay 2.
Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL