Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Edward Harry Gwilt was born at Hampton Loade and was baptised at St Andrew's, Quatt, on 18th June, 1893. He was the son of Edward Gwilt, a shopkeeper, and his wife, Frances Annie.
Edward became a carpenter and wheelwright. He enlisted in the Shropshire Yeomanry in January 1915, serving at home until September 1916 when he was sent to France and transferred to the 6th Battalion King's Shropshire Light infantry. In December, 1916, he was admitted to hospital and subsequently returned to England - possibly as a result of wounds.
Edward returned to France in June 1917 - this time as part of the 7th Battalion KSLI. On the 26th September, he received multiple wounds during the Battle of Polygon Wood (Ypres 1917). The Battalion War Diary gives a very terse description of events: "Barastre Brandhoek, 26th, Bn. attacked at 5.50 am in the morning and obtained objectives. Severe fighting ensued". The Regimental History is more forthcoming:
The 8th E. Yorks captured the German front line, and the 7th K.S.L.I., passing through the E. Yorks, assaulted and carried the German second line, capturing 70 prisoners, 8 machine guns and one 77-mm. gun. A strong counter-attack by the enemy at 6.30 p.m. forced a retirement of some 200 yards of the troops on our right and left. The battalion, retaining its ground, swung out defensive flanks and maintained touch. Total gain, approximately 2,500 yards. The line was consolidated and held until the 28th, when the Brigade was relieved by the 9th Brigade. [Wood p.243.]
Edward was returned to England on the 15th October. His wounds made walking difficult and painful. He was discharged from the Army in June and awarded a pension. He died on 20th February, 1919.
Private Edward Harry Gwilt, 26593 KSLI (formerly 2332 Shropshire Yeomanry) was awarded the Victory and British War Medals. His name appears in a list of the wounded printed in the Bridgnorth Journal on 10 Nov, 1917.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.