Francis Edgar Wilde

Francis Edgar Wilde ©

Francis Edgar Wilde ©

Date of birth: 9th December 1879
Place of birth: Pitsmore, Sheffield, Yorkshire
Service No.: 43298
Rank: Lance Sergeant
Regiment: Durham Light Infantry
Battalion: D Coy  1st / 5th Battalion
Died: 27th March 1918 aged 38 years
Death location: France





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Life before the War
Francis was the third of 4 sons born to parents George and Sarah Ann.  George was born in 1847 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.  Sarah Ann was born in 1854 in Walton, Derbyshire.

Francis’s siblings were:

Percy James b.1875 Chesterfield

Harold Aubrey b.1877 Sheffield

Horace Edwin b.1884 Walton, Chesterfield

In the 1881 census the family were living at 93 Asline Road, Ecclesall Bierlow,Yorkshire.  George was working as a Grocers Traveler and Assistant.

By the 1891 and 1901 cenuses the family had moved to 99 South View Road, Ecclessall Bierlow.  George was still a Grocers Traveler, which was his own business.  Percy was employed as an Accounts Clerk.  The family employed a General Domestic Servant.

The family’s occupations in 1901 are as follows:

Percy – working for the County Council as an Accountant’s Clerk.

Harold – a Lecturer in a Training School and College

Francis had moved to Wood Green, Middlesex and was a School Master.

Horace – a Bank Clerk


In 1911 Francis was living at Rosyth, Wellbeck Avenue, Highfield, Southampton with his brother Harold and his family.  Harold and Francis were both working as Assistant Masters at a Secondary School for the Endowed Schools Government.  In this year Francis’s parents, with brother Horace, are living at 54 Joshua Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield.  George was still a Commercial Traveler in the Grocery Trade and Horace was still in banking as a Cashier.  Percy was living in Sheffield with his wife and child and was employed as an Accounts Clerk.


War Service

Service Records

Francis attested on 11th January 1915, joining firstly the Yorks and Lancaster Regiment, service number 1289, and then transferred to the Durham Light Infantry, service number 43298.  He served at home until 10th October 1916 when he was sent to France.  He was reported missing on the 27th March 1918 and “presumed dead after a period of time had elapsed”.  He gave his father George as his next of kin living at 54 Joshua Road, Sheffield and then amended the records to 45 Wellbeck Avenue, Southampton, at a later date.  This was the same address as his brother Harold.  His occupation was Assistant School Master.  He confirmed details of his siblings as well as confirming he wasn’t married.  For his service to his country, he was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals.

Personal Effects – as his executor, Horace received a payment of £39 15s 5d which included a War Gratuity of £19 10s.  This was paid to Horace on 6th April 1920.

Francis left a Probate naming his brother and a work colleague:

“Wilde Francis Edgar of 47 Barkers Road Sheffield sergeant 1/5th battalion Durham Light Infantry died on or since 27 March 1918 in France or Belgium. Probate London 15 March 1920 to Horace Edwin Wilde cashier and James Edward Gilley schoolmaster. Effects £1023 11s 10d”

Francis is Remembered with Honour on the Pozieres Memorial, France and on Southampton’s Cenotaph and Memorial Wall.

Pozieres Memorial

Pozieres Memorial

Pozieres Memorial Register

“Wilde, Lce. Sergt. Francis Edgar, 43298. “D” Coy. 1st/5th Bn. Durham Light Infantry. 27th March, 1918. Age 38. Son of the late George and Sarah Ann Wilde”.

Highfield, War Memorial, Southampton.

“Francis Edgar Wilde died 27th March 1918, aged 38

Lance Sergeant, 1/5th Durham Light Infantry, formerly with the York and Lancaster regiment, service number 1289. Francis was born in Sheffield and before the war he was an Assistant Master in a secondary school in Southampton. He lived at ‘Rosyth’, Welbeck Avenue. He died during the German Spring Offensive and is remembered at the Pozieres Memorial in France. There is no known grave”.


Old Tauntonians’ Memorial Roll

Time at Taunton’s School: 1904 – 1914 (staff)

Education and Employment: Francis was born in Sheffield on 9th December 1879. He attended school and university college there. On gaining his teacher’s certificate, Francis taught at a school in Wood Green for 4 years before joining the staff at Taunton’s in 1904.

Life during the war: Francis taught History, Mechanics and English Composition. He began the school debating society in 1911. Francis enlisted in the Sheffield City Battalion of the Yorks and Lancaster Regiment in January 1915. He was stationed at Peronne in France in March 1918 when he was reported missing. In July 1919 the school learned of Francis’ death from a fellow soldier who had been captive in Germany. Sergeant Wilde had been supervising the digging the men were doing when he was killed by machine gun fire and the others taken prisoner.

Francis died on 27th March 1918 aged 38 years.


Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 30th August 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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