The Ordinary Soldier

Edwin Birch

Edwin Birch (b~1872-1963) was step-father to Daisy F. Birch who married Frederick C. Harris. (See his entry in Writing about the Ordinary Soldier.)

He was a professional soldier who served in the Medical Staff Corps (later re-named as the Royal Army Medical Corps) and worked his way up through the ranks. He served in the Boer War (9651 Sergeant E. Birch) and was awarded the South Africa Medal (with clasps for Paardeburg, Driefontein, Relief of Kimberley & Cape Colony) and the King’s South Africa Medal (with clasps for South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902).

He then served in WW1 with the RAMC. His 1920 WW1 Medal Card shows service in France and Belgium from 26th Dec 1914. He was a Lieutenant & Quartermaster (awarded the 1914-15 Star) and later a Major (awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal). The “emblems” notation on the card signified that he had been mentioned in dispatches and would be entitled to wear an oak-leaf with the ribbon of the Victory Medal. Edwin Birch is mentioned three times in dispatches as:

Birch E:  Quartermaster & Honorary Lieutenant: Medical Service & RAMC: London Gazette 22.06.1915

Birch E:  Quartermaster & Honorary Lieutenant: RAMC: London Gazette 01.01.1916

Birch E:  Quartermaster & Honorary Lieutenant (temp Major): RAMC: London Gazette 24.12.1917

He was eventually promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel but, because this was a brevet appointment, he reverted to Major on retirement.


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Positions - 1st Battle of Ypres

Menin Gate Memorial

The curved ceiling of the Menin Gate Memorial with the rebuilt town in the distance.

Pte A. Stringer’s grave in Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Menin Gate Panel 11

A detail of Panel 11 of the Memorial with Joe’s friend Fellowes among those without a grave.

Army map of 1st Ypres October, 1914

Army map of 1st Ypres 29th October, 1914 – source, copy in the 'In Flanders Fields Museum', with permission. Where Joseph Garvey was captured is circled.

The Scots Guards Listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate

The Scots Guards are listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate. Just some of the 58,000 fallen who could not be identified.