One doctor, two generations, four soldiers, one fatality

OTs who served in the 1st World Wa

Arthur Reginald Kepp Edsell (day pupil)

The Edsell family made a great contribution both to life in Thame and to the British Army over a long period. Arthur was born in July 1889 at Thame where he lived in High Street, the second son of Annie Mabel and George Edsell (see below). He arrived at LWGS around 1900 but had left before 1906. In 1901 he was living with his maternal grandfather William Haynes at St Leonards in Sussex. After leaving school he moved with his family to Surbiton, and in 1911 he was living at home as an articled clerk to a chartered accountant. He joined the East Surrey Regiment on 13thSeptember 1910 and was commissioned as a 2ndLieutenant. On 29thAugust 1914 he was promoted to Captain. He served in France from 15thOctober 1917. 

It would appear he did not marry, and died in Bristol in 1961. 

Eric Valentine Edsell (day pupil)

Eric was born on 13thFebruary 1891, younger brother of Arthur. Like Arthur he served in the East Surrey Regiment, commissioned as a 2ndlieutenant having been a Territorial before the war, was promoted to Lieutenant on 28thApril 1917 and transferred to the Tank Corps on 1stDecember 1921 where he continued to serve, promoted to Captain on 1stNovember 1925.  He re-enlisted on the eve of WW2 on 24thAugust 1939 and served as a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. He died in September 1945.

George Alfred Edsell (school doctor and parent)

George was born at Aberdovey, Wales on 18thJanuary 1859, the son of James and Caroline Edsell, both teachers. He entered medical practice receiving his training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and University College, London. By 1887 he had moved to Thame and was in practice as a physician and surgeon with Herbert Grove Lee at 79 High Street and was also LWGS doctor. In 1889 he joined the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry Territorials as a Lieutenant-Surgeon, retiring in 1899 as a Captain.  He also served on the Thame Urban District Council and was chairman in 1897. He was examiner and honorary life member to the St John Ambulance Association, surveyor to the medical department of the Admiralty, and a member of the British Medical Association. He left Thame sometime after 1904, and moved to Surbiton, where he became a local councillor, and joined the 3rdHome Counties Field Ambulance RAMC, as a Captain. He rose with promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and took command of the unit in 1911. When the Territorial Force was mobilized, after a period of training, the 3rdHome Counties (83rd) Field Ambulance proceeded to France, and then to Belgium, being deployed in the neighbourhood of Ypres.  It was here that Lt Col Edsell contracted pleurisy.  He was invalided home to Surbiton, where he died on 15thAugust 1915, aged 56. His funeral took place on 18thAugust at Kingston upon Thames where he was buried in the cemetery with full military honours.

He married Annie Isabel Haines in Byfleet, Surrey on 14th July 1887 and they went on to have three daughters and three sons. All three sons were born in Thame, attended LWGS and served as officers in the Great War.  

George Lynton Edsell (day pupil)

George Lynton was the oldest of the three sons of George Alfred.  He was born on 23rdApril 1888, baptised, not in Thame but at St Mary’s Byfleet where his mother had lived and got married. He became a professional soldier with distinguished service. He started in the ‘Special reserve’ until he joined the Hampshire Regiment as a 2ndlieutenant on 7thDecember 1910. He was promoted Lieutenant on 10thSeptember 1913 and Captain on 1stMay 1915. He was acting major from 29thFebruary 1916 to March 1919, adjutant first of the 53rdBattalion of the Hampshires from March to June 1919 and then the Warwickshires to December, thereafter acting major of the Durham Light Infantry. He was on the general staff grade 3 from 2ndFebruary to 29thJune 1918 and adjutant in the Territorial Army from 12thMarch 1920. By 1939 he had married, been divorced and was staying in a hotel in Porthcawl, a retired regular army major living on pay and pension on account of ‘disablement caused by military service’.  He died on 23rdNovember 1962 in Basingstoke.

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