Private Edwin Mason White, 52496, 5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Edwin Mason White was born in Lofthouse, Wakefield in April 1889, and was baptised on the 9th Nov 1890 at All Saints Church, Normanton. He was the son of labourer William White, born 1862 in Ackworth and Ellen Mason born 1863 in Wakefield. The couple had married on the 8th January 1887 at All Saints Church, Normanton and 24 year-old William gave his occupation as a miner living in Snydale. The Whites had six children, but only three survived: Herbert b. 1887; Edwin Mason b. 1889 and Leonard b. 1896. In 1901 and 1911, the White family were living at 28, Charlotte Street, Wakefield and William White was working as a labourer in a foundry.
Edwin Mason White aged 21 years, a labourer, married Dorcas Ward, aged 18 years on June 11th 1910 at Christ Church, South Ossett, when both gave their addresses as Ossett Spa. By 1911, Edwin and new wife Dorcas, now with a 1-year-old son, William White (born 8th September 1910 in Ossett) are living at 7, Blakey Buildings, Kilby Street, Wakefield. Edwin now aged 22 years is working as a labourer for an ironfounder. Another daughter, Annie Maria was born to the Whites in 1914.
Unfortunately, Private White's army records did not survive. However, Edwin White enlisted in Pontefract in 1916 and later served in the 5th Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. By the beginning of 1918, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was suffering a manpower crisis and the decision was made to break up one battalion in each infantry brigade. 1/5th K.O.Y.L.I. was the battalion chosen in 148 Brigade and some of the men were drafted to the 1/4th Battalion, the remainder joined 2/5th Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. in in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, which thereafter became simply 5th K.O.Y.L.I.
Edwin Mason White died on the 27th August 1918, aged 29 years, during the Second Battle of Bapaume which took place between the 21st August 1918 through to the 3rd September 1918. On the 27th August, 5th Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. as part of 62 (West Riding Division) Division were engaged in severe fighting to re-take Mory and St. Leger, in the area of the Somme. The 5th Battalion were prominent in eventually driving the Germans out of Mory, taking many prisoners, but with casualties, including Private Edwin Mason White.
Private Edwin Mason White's body was never found, but he is remembered on Panel 8 of the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery and Memorial, Haucourt, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the straight main road from Arras to Cambrai about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras. This Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing.
Above: Bapaume in 1918 with tanks being used on the relatively flat ground during the 2nd Battle of Bapaume.
Private White was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal posthumously, but not the 1914/15 Star, indicating he did not serve overseas before 1916.
After her husband's death Dorcas White was living at 10, Marshall Street, Stanley Lane End, Wakefield. She re-married 27-year-old bachelor and coal miner Joseph William Lamb on the 28th January 1920 at St. Peter's Church, Stanley. Lamb had served in the Royal Navy all through WW1 until being demobbed in 1919. The couple went on to have three children: Cecil 1920-21; Jean b. 1930 and Edwin b. 1932 all in Wakefield. In 1939, the Lamb family were living at 9, Rutland Avenue, Wakefield and Edwin White's son, William White, a coal miner, was still living with them. Dorcas died in Wakefield in 1967.
Private Edwin Mason White is remembered at the Men of Stanley Memorial, Stanley, Wakefield, which was originally on the wall of St. Peter's Church Stanley. St Peter's was closed in 2001, and was subsequently demolished in 2014. The memorial plaques (to the "Men of Stanley"), have now been placed on a new memorial which stands adjacent to the site of the original church towers.
Above: Private Edwin Mason White is remembered at the Men of Stanley Memorial, Stanley, Wakefield, which was originally on the wall of St. Peter's Church Stanley. St Peter's was closed in 2001, and was subsequently demolished in 2014. The memorial plaques (to the "Men of Stanley"), have now been placed on a new memorial which stands adjacent to the site of the original church towers. The inscription reads "To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of the men of Stanley who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918."
Edwin Mason White's name was quietly added to the Ossett War Memorial with little or no notice in October 2023.
1. Ancestry Family Trees for Edwin Mason White.