The Fallen of Harlow: Edward and Thomas Deards

History / Sun 6th Jan 2019 pm31 06:45pm

THE short lives of Edward and Thomas Deards, narrated by HTS employee, Stephen Ward.

Made with the support of Harlow Council and HTS.


Edward and Thomas’ parents were Ambrose Deards, born in Harlow in the summer of 18581 and Annie Thurgood, born in Holloway in 18602. They married in the autumn of 1881 in Harlow3 and Edward Deards was born in Harlow in 18934. Thomas Deards was born in Harlow in 18955.

The 1901 census shows Edward and Thomas residing in Dock Yard, Station Road, Harlow with their parents and siblings Sarah, William, Archibald, Nellie and Annie. Ambrose was working as a non-domestic groom. The 1911 Census shows Edward still residing in Dock Yard, Harlow with his parents and siblings which by 1911 included a further sister Edith. Edward was working as a groom while his father Ambrose was recorded as a groom out of employment at the age of 52. The 1911 census recorded Thomas residing at 20 Trebovie Road, Earls Court, London where he was employed as a Page (servant).

Private Edward Deards, 105859, enlisted in Harlow in the 1st/1st Battalion Hertfordshire Yeomanry. In March 1916, his squadron was posted to modern day Iraq. In December 1916, they fought in The 2nd Battle of Kut and in March 1917, they took part in the capture of Baghdad. The rest of the year saw numerous other battles alongside Indian troops. By December, the fighting had stopped but conditions were poor and Edward became ill. Edward Deards died on 13 December 1917 from pneumonia at the age of 24. He was buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq. Plot 16, row H, grave 10. Register Index Number Iraq 8.

Private Thomas Deards, 251368, enlisted in Epping serving in the 1st/5th Battalion Essex Regiment. The regiment was posted to Gallipoli in 1915, landing at Suvla Bay on 12 August.
A week of heavy fighting took place. Thomas, aged 21, was killed in action on 26 March 1917, the first day of the invasion of Palestine at The First Battle of Gaza. He is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial to the Missing, Palestine. Panels 3339. Register Index Number MR34.

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