Edmund Williams

Edmund was born on 10 January 1894 in Formby, to a fairly well-off family. He went to Merchant Taylors’ School in nearby Crosby, worked as a chemist for Sir Benjamin Johnson’s dyeing and cleaning works, then studied chemistry at technical college.

Latest Update

 

January 2015

Back in the UK, hundreds of thousands of soldiers were going through their basic training to get them ready for war. In September 1914, Edmund and his brother had both volunteered to join the 19th King’s Liverpool Regiment at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. The battalion began training, first at Sefton Park and then Knowsley Park Camp in Liverpool.

 

"Our company sergeant major was very good; he was an old soldier – he’d been a tailor. He would ‘needle’ us because this was part of the discipline; you had to get used to standing to attention when you would like to open your mouth! There was nothing harsh about this – this was civilian discipline, not barrack discipline.

We were a very mixed lot. Some of them were very rough, good sorts, but they were from the rougher parts of Liverpool. One claimed to be a deserter from the American navy! One evening after coming back drunk he held the hut at bay with a drawn bayonet in his hand having smashed the crockery up. My little brother was one of two ordered by the sergeant to go and arrest him. They said: “We’ll go if you lead us, sergeant!”

Like all new soldiers the brothers had to learn to drill. Endless hours were spent on the drill square, perfecting their moves.

"When you recollect that people have to be taught to drill in unison, together at word of command, smartly – the number of hours put in at platoon drill, company drill and even battalion drill! This was hard slogging.

The officers had to learn how to command us – some with a rather amusing lack of ‘word of command’. We had a first lieutenant with no ‘word of command’ and he was endeavouring to imitate a guardsman, but he had a squeaky voice!

We didn’t know what to do – we were standing to attention, some of us sloped arms and other people didn’t! He couldn’t get a word out that we could understand. The company sergeant major was getting redder and redder in the face!"

 

All Updates

 

January 2015

Back in the UK, hundreds of thousands of soldiers were going through their basic training to get them ready for war. In September 1914, Edmund and his brother had both volunteered to join the 19th King’s Liverpool Regiment at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. The battalion began training, first at Sefton Park and then Knowsley Park Camp in Liverpool.

 

"Our company sergeant major was very good; he was an old soldier – he’d been a tailor. He would ‘needle’ us because this was part of the discipline; you had to get used to standing to attention when you would like to open your mouth! There was nothing harsh about this – this was civilian discipline, not barrack discipline.

We were a very mixed lot. Some of them were very rough, good sorts, but they were from the rougher parts of Liverpool. One claimed to be a deserter from the American navy! One evening after coming back drunk he held the hut at bay with a drawn bayonet in his hand having smashed the crockery up. My little brother was one of two ordered by the sergeant to go and arrest him. They said: “We’ll go if you lead us, sergeant!”

Like all new soldiers the brothers had to learn to drill. Endless hours were spent on the drill square, perfecting their moves.

"When you recollect that people have to be taught to drill in unison, together at word of command, smartly – the number of hours put in at platoon drill, company drill and even battalion drill! This was hard slogging.

The officers had to learn how to command us – some with a rather amusing lack of ‘word of command’. We had a first lieutenant with no ‘word of command’ and he was endeavouring to imitate a guardsman, but he had a squeaky voice!

We didn’t know what to do – we were standing to attention, some of us sloped arms and other people didn’t! He couldn’t get a word out that we could understand. The company sergeant major was getting redder and redder in the face!"

 

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