Edward George Samways

Place of Birth              Stancome Dorset.
Date of Birth               February 1888.
Marriage                      1915.
Service Number         3/7744
Rank
Regiment                      Dorset
Batallion                       1st
Died                               1st June 1915
Death Location.         Flanders

Family Life Before The War.

Edward George Samways was born in February 1888 at Stancome in Dorset and employed as a jobbing gardener, he married Lily Bound in 1915 at Weymouth. Dorset.

His father was Eli Thomas 1851 – 1930 born in Cottistock Dorset employed as a Farm Labourer.  His mother Eliza nee Morgan 1867 – 1937 was from Blandford Dorset. They had nine children 2 of which died.

Edward had 3 brothers:- William Thomas 1885 – 1976  born in Bashley Hampshire who was a bricklayers labourer, he married Bessie E. Jacobs born 18.7.1891, she died in 1919 age 40 years.

Christopher Frank 1896 was born in Fleet Dorset, he joined the Royal Navy as an AB1-(Able Seaman) serving on board H.M.S. Broke.

On 20th/21st April 1917. H.M.S. Broke was involved in the second Battle of Dover Strait. 2 groups of torpedo boats of the German Navy raided the Dover Strait. H.M.S. Swift and H.M.S. Broke were on patrol near Dover and engaged 2 torpedo boats, Swift torpedoed SMSG85 – Broke rammed SMSG42.The two ships became locked together and there was close fighting between the crews. German sailors tried to board the British ship before Broke got free and G42 sank. Swift was slightly damaged and Broke was heavily damaged and had to be towed back to port. Although it was a British victory Christopher was killed on 21st April 1917 as  result of the enemy action, he is buried in Wimborne Cemetary. Dorset grave  5.4986 consecrated ground.

Leslie Robert 1903 – 1915 born in Gaunts Common, Dorset  died in Dorset, Leslie was baptised on 16th November 1902 – this could signify he was not too well and the young age he died.

3 sisters Louisa Jane 1893 born in Bettiscombe. Dorset, Dorothy Mable 1900 – 1944 born Bucknowle. Dorset and Caroline 1891 – 1978 who married James Everard 1883 – 1934.

The family home from 1911 was 2 Fern Cottage. Colehill.Wimborne. Dorset.

Military Service
Edward enlisted in the National Reserve and served for “1 year with colours”,  he then went on to join the  Dorset Regiment 1st battalion at Winchester Hampshire – he served for a total of 4 years and was awarded   The  Victory Medal, British Medal and 15th Star.

He joined the theatre of war  in France on 13th May 1915  then fighting at Larchwood – Flanders where he was killed in action on 1st June 1915.

By the 1st May 1915 “Hill 60” was occupied- by among others –  1st Battalion Dorset Regiment.

At 11.00am on the 1st May a second attack released gas onto the men of the 1st. In total over 300 men were lost to this devastating attack and, despite several  efforts to attack the hill, it was not captured from the Germans until June 1917 and had cost the lives of over 3000 British servicemen.

Gas shells had been used by both sides, large scale use of gas was done by releasing it   from cylinders and allowing it to be carried on the breeze. As chlorine is heavier than air, wounded troops in the trenches would suffer the most appalling injuries it would have been total devastation.

Chlorine is  gas that attacks the lungs, and a high enough exposure  can prove fatal as the lungs will fill with liquid. Face masks issued were only gauze or heavy cotton.

The area was used by troops holding this sector especially the 1st Dorsets until April 1918.

Memorial Information

The cemetery at Larchwood Railway Cutting  where Edward is buried- grave reference I.D.15.was begun in April 1915 at the north end of a small plantation of Larches.
Most of the  men who were buried here were killed in the defence of “Hill 60”.

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