Edward Leicester Stuart Astwood 20 September 1916

Edward Leicester Stuart Astwood was also killed on the Somme two days after Christopher Gell. He was a native of Jamaica, born in St Andrew, Jamaica in 1893. He spent some time at Jamaica College, before coming up to Oundle and Dryden House in 1910, at the age of 17. He stayed for just one year and returned home to work for three years in the engineering branch of the Jamaica Government Railway.

On the outbreak of war, he got a commission in the Royal Fusiliers and was appointed musketry Instructor. He went out to France in May 1916 and took part in the great offensive of 15th September on the Somme. Here, in the so-called Battle of Flers-Courcelette an attack was made by 11 British Divisions supported by tanks for the first time. Although more ground was gained than on the first day of the Somme battle, the attack did not result in a breakthrough. Of the 49 tanks available only 21 made it into action on the first day, so their impact was limited. 

Edward Astwood was wounded on the first day of the battle and died five days later, on 20th September 1916. He was buried at the Military Cemetery of St Sever in Rouen. His Colonel wrote that he “was greatly loved by us all.” Another officer claimed “He was a great favourite amongst us, and was extremely popular with his men, who would have followed him anywhere.”

Edward Astwood was just 23 years old at the time of his death.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow