Edward James Shadbolt was born on 12 November 1893 in either Digswell or Burnham Green, the son of Walter and Susan Shadbolt, and baptised on 10 December 1893 in Digswell, Herts. (N.B. Both Census returns state he was born in Digswell).
On the 1901 Census the family were living in Digswell, where his father was a General Dealer (shopkeeper). By the 1911 Census the family had moved to Burnham Green, and Edward was working as a Gardener. His father's occupation was as Head Gardener.
In early 1915 he married Amy Ellen Ewington of Beulah House, Burnham Green, Welwyn, Herts, and they had a child, Edward Cyril Clive Shadbolt.