Edward Slade was accidently drowned when he was off duty and bathing to the rear of the British trenches on the Somme. Many sources confirmed that he died on 12th August 1915, although the Abbots Langley Parish Magazine recorded his death as 13th August.
Edward was born on 9th December 1892 at Abbots Langley. He was the son of Edward Henry and Kate Slade, and had a younger sister, Kathleen who was born in 1896. At the time of the 1901 Census the family lived at Abbots Road, Abbots Langley. They moved to Sunny Mount, Bedmond around the time of the 1911 Census. Edward was educated at Watford Grammar School, and at the outbreak of War, in August 1914, was employed as a clerk with the London & NW Railway at Euston. He had followed his father into railway work. Edward senior was recorded as a Railway Clerk in the 1911 Census.
Edward junior enlisted at Kings Langley on 17th November 1914 with the 9th County of London Battalion, Queen Victoria Rifles, and went to France on 6th June 1915. News of Edward’s death made it back to Abbots Langley in time for Vicar Parnell to include an obituary in the September 1916 edition of the Parish Magazine.
“We have sustained another sad loss. Edward Slade was accidentally drowned while bathing while off duty, somewhere in France, on August 13th (sic). His body was recovered three days afterwards and buried in consecrated ground. He joined the Royal (sic) Victoria Rifles shortly after the outbreak of war, and had been for three months on active service at the front, where he had taken part in much severe fighting, hence the manner of his death was particularly pathetic. Since he joined as a small boy he has been a keen member of our Choir, of which his father is a senior member. He was an organist of considerable promise, and not infrequently had accompanied the service in Church. Of a very retiring disposition he did not readily make friendships, but those made were very real, and those who knew and valued his friendship will sorely miss him. We deeply mourn his loss; we are proud to have his name on our roll of honour, and we offer to his parents and family our sincerest sympathy.”
Edward Slade was also recorded in the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-19 (a collection of biographies of over 26,000 casualties of the Great War), where it was noted that he was a student of the Guildhall School of Music and a choirman and deputy organist at the Abbots Langley Parish Church. His company Officer wrote “that his death was a great loss to the company, as he was an able and willing soldier under all circumstances.”
He was buried at Chapilly Communal Cemetery in the Somme Region of France, and listed on the War Memorial at Abbots Langley. He was also commemorated on the War Memorial at the Church of the Ascension at Bedmond. His brother in law Edward Wild, who married his sister Kathleen in 1918, served with the Royal Navy and survived the War.