Place of Birth Southampton
Date of Birth 29th July 1890
Service Number 241206
Battalion 2/5th T.F.
Died 9th April 1918
Death Location Israel
Family Life Before The War
Edward Sparks was born on 29th July 1890 in Southampton and lived at 24 Cross street, Southampton. His father William Henry was born in 1839 in Portsmouth and worked as a general dealer, he managed a general supplies store. His mother Jane Emma Sparks (nee Johnston) was born in 1863, also in Portsmouth, and worked as a nurse. Sadly, following an accident which resulted in her breaking her back, she was bedridden for the rest of her life until she died in 1942. She is buried in Heston Church, Hounslow, Middlesex.
Edward had 3 brothers – Frederick (1884), Albert (1887 – 1930), George Henry born on 20 May 1894 – and 1 sister, Edith M (1885).
Edith married Harry Fryer, a merchant seaman, and they had one son, Harry junior, who worked for the Southampton Echo.
The family lived at 24 Cross Street. During the Second World war the house that Edith and Harry were living in took a direct hit during a heavy bombing raid over Southampton after which the contents of the house were looted.
Edward’s brother George Henry worked as a general labourer until the First World War when he joined the Hampshire Regiment. He served at Passchendaele in 1917 during which a bullet hit his leg as he dived into a shell hole to take cover from German fire. He survived the war and lived until 1972 when he died in Reading.
Albert worked as Head Club Steward at 1 Terminus Terrace, Southampton in 1911. In April 1913 when he was 24 he married Ann A McIntosh. Albert went on to run an off license business. He died in 1957.
Edward worked as a dairyman / journeyman and lived at 5 Spa Court, Southampton. In October 1911 he married Laura Delin Deacon (1894). They had two daughters – Laura born 21st March 1912 and Ellen L who was born in October 1913 in Southampton. Sadly Laura died in March 1912. Edward’s wife Laura left him just before he went off to serve in the war. Following his death in 1918 his sister Edith and her husband Harry brought up his daughter Ellen who went on to become a champion swimmer for her school and took part in regional swimming contests in Southampton.
In September 1934 Ellen married Jack Davis in Southampton.
Edward enlisted at the Carlton Hall Southampton and was deployed in the Hampshire Regiment 2/5th Battalion Territorial Force . Edward, within the 2/5th Battalion, took part in the following deployments – 134th (2nd Hampshire) Brigade, 2/5th Battalion Hampshire Regiment from October 1914 – January 1915 to the 9th (Indian) Division. 1st Secunderabad Brigade (it was renamed the Secunderabad Brigade in October 1914.) 2/5th battalion Hampshire Regiment, January 1915 – March 1917, to the 75th (British ) Division.
For his action, while serving in Israel, he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty under fire.
Edward was also awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal.
The Military Medal was awarded to Edward as he went to save his commanding officer who had been wounded under fire, it was during this act of bravery he was hit by shrapnel to his head which sadly was fatal for Edward. His death was recorded in the Southampton and District Pictorial on 6th June 1918 where his chaplain wrote of him: “He was a grand man, brave as a lion, gentle as a child, no mother could be anything more than proud of such a son.” A fitting tribute.
A preliminary attack was launched at 05.10 on 9th April but ran into fierce Ottoman resistance supported by 3 German field batteries.
German battalions were very active in counter attacks using mortars and machine guns. Initial assaults were carried out in line against El Kufr, Rafat and Three Bushes Hill which were successfully captured, Berukin was finally captured at 4pm. The delay in capturing Berukin slowed the attack of other infantry brigades and gave the German and Ottoman defenders time to strengthen their defences.
There followed two-day’s bitter hand-to- hand fighting . The action of Berukin occurred in a section of the line which would become part of the final offensive five months later. The losses were heavy: 1,500 British casualties with about 200 Ottoman dead on the battlefield and 7 Ottoman and German prisoners.
Edward was killed in action on 9th April in the battle at Berukin and is buried in Ramleh Cemetary Israel, grave reference T.9.
The family have been very supportive with the research on Edward and kindly provided additional information, photographs and documents to help complete Edwards’story for an accurate insight into his life and heroism, for that we acknowledge their support with thanks.
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|Researcher:||Brenda White with the help of Edward’s family|
|Updated:||Insert dates here|
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