EDGAR THOMAS FINCH
Private8271
2nd Bn.9 Essex Regiment
who died on Monday, 7th December 1914.
Age 27.
 

Commonwealth
War Graves Commission

Casualty Details      49794  


 
Personal
Information
   
Date of birth 13th July 1887. Son of John and Ellen Finch, of Quilberry Lane, Rayne. It is likely that Ellen had died before the war. Edgar had four sisters, Lilly and Florence, May and Katie.
 
Edgar went to Rayne School, being admitted on 8th January 1894, leaving on 21st March 1902 to work on a farm.
 
In 1911, Edgar was already in the Army and he was serving in Quetta, Baluchistan, India.
 
Edgar enlisted at Warley. Went to France 24th August 1914.
 
On his headstone is engraved: 
 
"He died that we might live". .

 

 
Memorial:  
Grave
Reference/
Panel Number:
Location:
  
BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France III. B. 57. Boulogne Eastern Cemetery is one of the Town Cemeteries and stands on high ground on the eastern side of Boulogne, on the road to St. Omer. .

 
Theatre of War:

Boulogne, was one of the three Base ports most extensively used by the British Armies on the Western Front, throughout the 1914-18 War. It was closed and cleared on the 27th August, 1914, in consequence of the retreat of the Allies; but it was opened again in October, and from that month to the end of the war Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief Hospital areas. The dead from the Hospitals at Boulogne itself were buried, until June (in a few cases July), 1918, in the Cimetiere de L'Est, one of the Town Cemeteries. The British graves form a long, narrow strip along the right hand edge of the cemetery; they are arranged in seven plots, numbered I to IV and VII to IX. (The number V was given to the German Plot and VI to the Portuguese.) In the spring of 1918 it was found that the ground available in the Eastern Cemetery was being filled up, in spite of repeated extensions to the South, and the site of the new cemetery at Terlincthun was chosen.

During the 1939-45 War Boulogne was, for a short time in May 1940, again the site of British hospitals and of Rear General Head Quarters. Taken by the Germans at the end of that month, it remained in their hands until re-captured by the Canadians on September 22nd 1944. There are now nearly 6,000,1914-18 and 200, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. The cemetery covers an area of 8,040 square metres.
Private Finch was the first Rayne man to die. He died of wounds in the military hospital in Boulogne. He had probably been sent here after being wounded during the fierce fighting which marked the attempted German breakthrough at Ypres in late November 1914. The Essex regiment at this time were in trenches around the village of Ploegsteert, south of the town of Ypres.

 
 
 Address
 given at
Remembrance
Sunday
at
All Saints, Rayne 2008

On 11th November 2008, we commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the end of the First World War.
 
The War Memorial on the Village Green lists 34 men from Rayne, or who had connections with the Village, who were killed in that conflict. Although the date when the First World War started is a matter of some debate, what is not in doubt is that the United Kingdom joined the War on 4th August 1914. Men already in the Army were being prepared and volunteers came forward to supplement them to form the British Expeditionary Force and by the end of the month, British forces were engaged in fighting in Belgium.
 
The first casualty from Rayne was Edgar Finch, who was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment. He was the son of John and Ellen Finch who lived in Quilberry Lane (at Braintree Green). He had joined the Essex Regiment in August 1914 and was sent to France on 24th August. Exact details of his movements are difficult to trace but it is known that the Regiment were involved in heavy fighting which marked the attempted German breakthrough at Ypres in November 1914. Private Finch died of wounds sustained during the fighting on 7th December 1914, in the military hospital at Boulogne, and his memorial headstone is in the Eastern Cemetery at Boulogne.
 
The last man who can definitely be identified as coming from Rayne to be killed in the War was Arthur Linsell. Arthur was born in Panfield and had enlisted, as a volunteer, in Chelmsford, being assigned to the 4th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. Arthur was killed in action on 12th October 1918, less than a month before the end of the War. The fighting at this time was very confused as the Germans were retreating on all fronts. The 4th Middlesex were engaged in the area of Vis en Artois, between Arras and Cambrai and it was here that Private Linsell was killed. He is one of over 9,000 men listed on the memorial at Vis-en-Artois, 9,000 men who have no known grave.
 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.