Edward Francis PEARCE

PEARCE, Edward Francis

Service Number: 150
Enlisted: 12 April 1915, Townsville, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 26th Infantry Battalion
Born: Townsville, Queensland, Australia, 21 August 1894
Home Town: Townsville, Townsville, Queensland
Schooling: Ravenswood Convent School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Hairdresser
Died: Killed in Action, France, 26 March 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, City of Townsville WW1 Honour Roll, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

12 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 150, Townsville, Queensland
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 150, 26th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
8 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 150, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Itonus, Brisbane
26 Mar 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 150, 26th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, First reported wounded, later changed to killed in action
26 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 150, 26th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

Battle of Lagnicourt

Lagnicourt, in northern France, was the scene of fierce fighting in March and April 1917. When the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line in March and the British and dominion forces advanced rapidly in their wake but as they neared the Hindenburg Line they were confronted by well-prepared rearguard forces, which were only removed after difficult fights. One such action took place at Lagnicourt between 26 and 27 March.
As the German Army withdrew towards the Hindenburg Line, the 26th Battalion was involved in a number of actions at Warlencourt and Lagnicourt in March. During the fighting around Lagnicourt, Captain Percy Cherry led his company into the village, capturing several positions before helping to hold off several German counterattacks; he was later awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

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Lagnicourt

It is most possible that Edward was buried where he fell, in the vicinity of the village of Lagnicourt.

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Biography contributed by Anna Casey

Correction:

Baptism was 2/9/1894

Biography contributed by Anna Casey

Edward Francis Pearce was born to Hannah Tobin, an Irish governess and teacher who had been employed in Charters Towers, at the home of Mrs Pearce, midwife, Davidson St. South Townsville, on 21 August 1894 . A baptism certificate from St Josephs, The Strand, Townsville, that same day, names his father as Patrick Flannery.

Hannah married James Ramsey Dickson in Charters Towers 27 April 1898. Unfortunately after 4 years of marriage, James Dickson died of pneumonia following a chill coming up into the cool air from the shaft of a gold mine in Ravenswood. Hannah Dickson then kept a boarding house with her also widowed sister Annie Withnall. Edward Pearce's particulars for the Roll of Honour show he went to Ravenswood convent school. He was Catholic. In 1904 Hannah married one of her miner boarders, Arthur Dorrat, and they went to live in Townsville in 1910. Their address was Ralston St West End Townsville. When Edward enlisted in April 1915, he was 19 and had been a hairdresser working for A J Brown in Townsville. He had been in cadets for 2 years, and 2 years in the 2nd Kennedy Regiment. He was of slight build, 5 foot 4 inches tall, and weighed 8 stone 2 lb. He had grey eyes and dark hair, and a scar on his top lip. He joined the 26 th Battalion and served as a Private in the A company. His regimental number was 150. The unit embarked on the Ascanius in May 1915. He was operated on in Egypt for appendicitis August 1915 but the wound broke down and he was in hospital 5 weeks. He was sent home from Heliopolis, invalided due to the resulting abdominal hernia on the 4 1/2 inch scar. However he was sent back with reinforcement forces in August 1916 on the Itonus but caught influenza and was sent to England.

In early 1917, the 26th Battalion joined the follow-up of the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line and attacked at Warlencourt (1–2 March) and Lagincourt (26 March). On recovering from influenza, after arriving in France, he rejoined his battalion on the 10th March and was killed somewhere near Bullecourt?, on the 26th March 1917. The location of his grave is unknown. He was 22. His stepfather was notified in April that Edward had been wounded.After some letters asking for news, his mother and stepfather eventually received notification of his death in November. His stepfather was given his meagre personal effects: a handkerchief, scarf, cigarette case, coat hanger, pipe and bag handle. His mother received a war pension. In 1921 his mother applied for his war medal. She received a memorial scroll, memorial plaque, and a Victory medal and he would also have been awarded the British War Medal and the 1914-15 Star.

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Biography contributed by Anna Casey

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), Tuesday 26 March 1918, page 4

ROLL OF HONOR PEARCE- In loving memory of Edward Francis Pearce (Ted), Killed In Action on the 26th March 1917, Somewhere in France. (Inserted by his loving pal Clarrie Cummins)

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), Wednesday 26 March 1919, page 4

ROLL OF HONOR. PEARCE.—In loving memory of Private Edward Francis Pearce (Ted), killed in action on the 26th March, 1917. Somewhere in France. (Inserted by his loving Pal, Clarrie Cummins.)

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