No.888, Trooper, Edward Romaine THOMPSON
Household Battalion, Royal Horse Guards
Born in Woodditton in Q1-1888 [Newmarket 3b:520], 3rd of five sons of Sam and Martha THOMPSON (née SWANN) of The Cottages, Sargeants Farm, Woodditton.|
1891 census...Aged 3, Edward was at The Cottage, Sargeants Farm, Woodditton with his father Sam  a groom/gardener born Cavendish, his mother Martha  born Woodditton, his brothers John William  born Cavendish, and Sam Clement  born Woodditton, and sister Eleanor Hewerdine  born Woodditton. In these cases Woodditton is taken to be Newmarket side of the railway line.
1901 census...Aged 13, Edward, a grocers apprentice, was at Westfield Cottages (golf links), Newmarket with his parents (father now horse keeper at the Golf lInks), brother John was a journeyman blacksmith, Samuel was a groom, sister Eleanor and new siblings who were brothers Hilary  and Herbert Olis  and sisters Martha Alice  and Sarah Hardy [9 months], all Newmarket born.
1911 census...Aged 23, Edward, a grocers assistant, was lodging with David and Susan Harrison at Lincoln Street, Hunstanton. His parents were still at the golf links
His younger brother Hilary was killed 6 months later.. see here
On August 1916 it was decided by The King, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and the Colonel of The 1st Life Guards, that the flood of recruits for the
Household Cavalry would be diverted into badly needed infantry - a battalion, in fact, raised and trained within The Household Cavalry. On Friday, 1st
September 1916, The Household Battalion formed at Hyde Park Barracks, under the wing of the Reserve Regiment of The 1st Life Guards. The battalion strength
was 28 Officers and 900 men.|
Most of the men had merely 99 days service when The Household Battalion manned trenches for the first time on 8th December 1916 at Sailly Sailliesel, east of Combles and Morval in the Somme Valley. The Somme battles had petered out five days earlier but German artillery still rumbled and the sticky, red, Somme red mud was just as deep. Over forty men had to be dug out and there were cases of total exhaustion during the period December - January, after which The Household Battalion moved to other trenches at Bouchavesne and went into the 'rest area' of Arras in mid February. There is no way of telling how and when Edward was wounded unless his military records are discovered.
© Roy Beardsworth
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details