- Gwalia Cemetery
- Plot: II
- Row: D
- Grave: 19
Distinctions and medals
Private Edward James Griggs - a farm labourer from Ashford, Kent - served in 7th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), part of the 55th Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division. The 20-year-old died on 14 October 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele.
On the 12th of October 1917, his unit participated in the First Battle of Passchendaele. During this battle, the 55th Brigade attacked the ruins of Poelcapelle towards Meunier House. The 8th East Surrey Regiment were positioned on the right, The 7th Buffs were in the middle, and the 7th Royal West Kent Regiment was on the left.
The attack was launched at 5.25 a.m. on the 12th of October. “D” and “C” Companies of the 7th Buffs were the first to advance. But it soon became clear that the attack wouldn’t go as planned. Due to the swampy terrain, the men were struggling to advance. On top of that the covering barrage was too erratic and lacked strength. It therefore failed to silence the reinforced German positions. Both “D” and “C” company were quickly caught in heavy machine-gunfire. “D” Company was fired upon from Helles House and Requette Farm, while “C” Company came under fire from Gloster Farm and Point 37. When “D” company pushed on towards Meunier House, it was enfiladed from Meunier House and from the Brewery. Any further advance was neigh to impossible. Posts were dug, but the withering machine-gunfire was too strong and the men were forced to establish a series of posts just beyond the original line.
Edwards’ Battalion remained in the frontline till the following day. Though the day passed relatively quiet, The Buffs’ positions were shelled between 4 and 5.30 p.m. By 9 p.m. the entire Battalion had been relieved. Casualties had been high. From 12 till 13 October 385 men of The 7th Buffs were killed, wounded or missing.
Twenty-year-old Edward James Griggs was possibly wounded on 13 October or in the early hours of 14 October. He was evacuated to Poperinge, but succumbed to his wounds on the 14 October 1917. Edward was buried in Gwalia Cemetery, which lay among the camps in flat, wet country and was used by field ambulances.