G/37096 Private Edward Groom, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Born in 1885 in Water End
Died of Disease 22nd March 1917 in France
Edward Groom was born in Water End, Great Gaddesden, the eldest child of Charles Edward Groom and Emily Maria, née Colyer. He was baptised at St John the Baptist, Great Gaddesden on 28th June 1885. His father was a Shepherd.
His younger siblings were Sarah, b. 1886; Reginald, b 1890 and Violet b. 20th July 1894. Reginald died aged 14 in 1904.
Edward’s family moved to Little Gaddesden in June 1890 and, in the 1891 Census, were living at 12 Little Gaddesden.
Edward and his sister Sarah entered Little Gaddesden School on 23rd June 1890. This is recorded in the School Log Book as follows:
Another new importation into the village… A family from Nettleden of the name of Groom. Two children were admitted this morning – Edward and Sarah – neither can tell a single letter!
As Edward was aged 5 and Sarah, 4, this was perhaps a rather harsh judgement, though at that time many children started in the Infants’ Class aged between 3 and 4.
In 1894 a Measles epidemic closed the school for a month from 19th October. Edward was among those affected, eliciting a more sympathetic Log Book entry on 11th December:
I see poor little Ted Groom is at School again after a severe illness from Inflammation following Measles.
On 12th April 1897 Edward left Little Gaddesden School with a Certificate of Proficiency and was able to go to work. He was approximately 12 years old.
The 1901 Census records Edward as a 15 year old General Agricultural Labourer, living with his parents and siblings at 2 Hudnall. His father was a Farm Horseman. By 1911 Edward was a Gardener Nurseryman living at Summerleys, Eaton Bray.
On 12th April 1909 at St Mary the Virgin, Edlesborough, Edward Groom, 23, a Gardener of Eaton Bray and son of Charles Groom, Horseman, married Alice Bliss, 28, of Edlesborough, daughter of James Bliss, Labourer. Their first daughter Ella Sarah was born on 28th February 1911 and their second daughter Marjorie on 28th May 1912.
Military Service 10
Edward enlisted in Luton while resident in Eaton Bray, joining the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). By the time of his death he was serving in the 1st Battalion.
Death in France 11
Edward died of disease in France on 22nd March 1917; he was aged 31.
Edward is buried at La Neuville Communal Cemetery, Corbie, Somme, France. His Grave Reference is B. 93.
Beneath the badge of the Queen’s Regiment the inscription reads:
22nd March 1917
The words inscribed below the cross are:
For ever with the Lord
Edward’s CWGC Grave Registration Report noted that he was the “Son of Charles and Emily Groom, of Water End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts; husband of Alice Groom, of Church Lane, Eaton Bray, Dunstable, Beds”. However, though his parents came from Water End, they remained living at 2 Hudnall throughout the War and the 1920s.
Edward Groom is commemorated on the War Memorials on the village green and in St Peter & St Paul’s Church Little Gaddesden. He is also named on the Roll of Honour in the church.
He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Edward is also named on Eaton Bray War Memorial and Eaton Bray Wesleyan Church War Memorial.
4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson