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Thread: Sapper Howard Benson Edwards

  1. #1
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    Sapper Howard Benson Edwards

    A message for Tom's Mum: (12/8/13)

    My reply to your enquiry has bounced back so here it is in the hope you read it -

    Hi Tomsmum,

    As one of the site administrators of the Association I have been asked to respond to your email above. I also live about 15 minutes away from where Howard is buried and was myself stationed in Belfast city centre at the time of his death.

    I visited him last year to discover the headstone was in a mess as it lies directly underneath a tree and the ground is bare in winter so that it gets badly splashed with mud in bad weather. It had also moulded badly which is a common trait with these military headstones I'm afraid. There is a common misconception that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are responsible for their upkeep but their mandate is war graves up to 1947 only, after that it is the responsibility of the family who I assumed had moved away or perhaps passed away given the time span. On the anniversary of his death I checked the local papers but there were no in memory notices.

    When I last visited I gave it a good scrub and it came up well but as I said, it will no doubt get worse again in winter so I plan to visit every summer to render some TLC. There is a move afoot to get the CWGC to assume responsibility for all such war graves in future but as with everything government related, this could take time, particularly as NI wasn't considered a war, they were commonly known as the "Troubles" where the armed services gave support to the civilian powers, i.e. the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

    There was indeed some form of justice for Howard, following is an extract from the book "Lost Lives" which attempts to record the death of everyone killed during the "Troubles":

    "1857. December 11, 1976 Howard Edwards, L/Derry city, soldier, Royal Engineers, 24, married, 2 children.

    The sapper from 21 Engineer Regiment was shot by an ira sniper while taking part in a four man foot patrol in the Bogside area of the city. Sapper Edwards who was from Rotherham in Yorkshire was hit in the back by a single shot and was dead on arrival at Altnagelvin hospital. Soldiers said they saw smoke coming from behind a hedge but did not fire back because a number of civilians had appeared on the scene. Soldiers found the rifle used in the attack buried in sand at a builder's yard.

    A 19 year old Derry man was sentenced to life for the killing and that of another soldier, Gunner William Miller, (KIA 3/7/76) also in Londonderry. In court he was described as the assistant quartermaster for the 1st battalion of the Bogside brigade of the provisional ira."

    I say some form of justice as the murderer would have been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement back in 1998.

    NIVA holds its annual service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire which this year is on Saturday,21st September 2013. We welcome all and would be particularly keen to invite relatives of our fallen comrades such as yourself. There is an ex Sapper always attends and he made me aware of where Howard lies which led to my visit as part of our Gravewatch project. This guy is, from memory, an ex colleague of Howards and may well have been with him in NI

    Should you wish to visit Howard I would be only too pleased to attend with you subject to my work requirements so I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Best wishes,

    Graham

    Rotherham-20130814-00290.jpg Headstone dusted off and picture taken 14/8/13

    Last edited by On1on; 14-08-2013 at 03:37 PM. Reason: piccie added
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jock2413's Avatar
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    Nice letter mate. Shame it bounced but maybe it might get read on here by someone who knows the family and passes it on.
    You cannot fight a war with one hand tied behind your back.

  3. #3
    Association Member & WUSA Overseas rep spanner's Avatar
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    Well done again On1on to you and Howard.
    Spanners do it with their tools.

  4. #4
    Slopjockey
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    Nice

  5. #5
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    HBE 11 Dec 13.jpg

    Pictured today on the anniversary of his death - never forgotten.

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  6. #6
    Administrator & NIVA Newshound jigsawged's Avatar
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    Nice one On1On,
    A step beyond Gravewatch to family support. Hope you are successful.
    “Some must be warriors, that others may live in peace. ”
    ― Mercedes Lackey

  7. #7
    NIVA AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM Honorary Member Switches's Avatar
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    Tis a great job you do mate and likewise is a great honour to call you my friend Mr Onion and I look forward to the next time we meet!
    Spreading the gospel of NIVA at the Last Post Ceremony in Ypres, Belgium.
    www.nivets.org.uk

  8. #8
    Association Member Bristol Girl's Avatar
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    In memory of Private David James McCahill
    The Gloucestershire Regiment.
    In memory of Gunner William John Marks
    91st Field Regiment. The Royal Artillery.

  9. #9
    Association Member of WUSA bigal's Avatar
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    Be who you are and say what you feel...
    Because those that matter, don't mind.
    And those that mind, don't matter!

  10. #10
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    Another year on, not forgotten...

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