Alfred William Edwards

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
West Lynn, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Stowmarket, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
 —  Grenadier Guards, 3rd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Vulcan Crossing, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

British War Medal
Medal — 06/03/1920
Victory Medal
Medal — 06/03/1920

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Private Alfred William Edwards served in the Grenadier Guards, 3rd Battalion, part of the 2nd Guards Brigade, of the Guards Division. The Guards participated in the Battle of Pilckem (31 July – 2 August), the opening stage of the Third Battle of Ypres.

The Division attacked with the 2nd Guards and 3rd Guards Brigade; the 1st Guards Brigade was in support. It advanced from positions at the Ypres-IJzer Canal towards the hamlet of Wijdendrift and towards the Northern edge of the village of Langemark. At 3.50 a.m., zero hour, the attacking units of the Guards left their positions. The 3rd Grenadier Guards were in second line. They advanced along the Torhout-Ypres Railroad, on the utter right of the divisional flank. After the first two objectives had been captured, the units in the second line were to take over the advance. With the 3rd Grenadier Guards allotted to take the third objective at Vulcan Crossing (The Green Line).

At 7.15 a.m. the 3rd Grenadiers commenced their advance. As soon as they pushed forward the men came under machine-gun fire coming from blockhouses on the Railroad near Vulcan Crossing. Some of these concrete positions were in the 38th Divisional area, on the other side of the tracks. The men of the 38th Division had been unable to take out these vital strongpoints. With their right flan exposed the advance along the railroad came to a standstill. While the 2nd Company on the left reached the Green Line, the 1st Company on the right was still struggling at the railroad. After heavy fighting the Germans were eventually beaten back from Vulcan Crossing, but only with the help from reinforcements of the 3rd Company and thanks to supporting fire from the 2nd Company.

Once Vulcan Crossing had been taken out the, whole Battalion was able to capture and consolidate the Green Line. Little later the 1st Company, now positioned at Vulcan Crossing, laid down fire on several German machine-gun positions on the other side of the railway embankment. As a result of this suppressive fire the 38th Division South of the railway saw a chance to renew their attack.

Moments after the Green Line had been taken, the German artillery laid down a barrage on the line, causing several casualties. The push to the final objective was then taken over by the 2nd Grenadier Guards, who eventually managed to consolidate positions along the Steenbeek stream on the north-western outskirts of Langemark. The 3rd Grenadiers held the Green Line, running along the Vulcan Crossing – Kortekeer Road throughout the rest of the day. The total casualties in the Grenadier Guards, 3rd Battalion were two officers killed, four officers wounded, 26 other ranks killed, 113 wounded and 12 men went missing.

Private Alfred William Edwards was killed in action during the attack on Vulcan Crossing. His remains were not found or were never identified and he is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 6

"The Grenadier Guards in the Great War of 1914-19", Ponsonby F., London, Macmillan & co. LTD, 1920, pg. 208-216.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 29-31.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Grenadier Guards 3rd Bn.
Further reference