Born in 1897 in Dalston, Hackney, Middlesex, son of Albert Samuel and Emily Edwards, later of of 44 Pollard Road, Oakleigh Park, Whetstone, Middlesex, London. Baptised in Digswell, Herts on 12 April 1911 aged 13, when his date of birth is given as 10 May 1897.
He first attended the Hitchin Grammar School in the Winter of 1908 in the Upper 3rd Form, probably as a boarder. He was at the school in the Winter of 1910 in the Lower 5th Form, at which stage the Register terminates. On the 1911 Census, he was living with his widowed mother and family at Digswell, Welwyn and was a scholar.
He enlisted in Whetstone in Middlesex and gave his occupation as a dining table maker.