Edward Henry Trotter, Lieutenant, 5th Cousin (paternal)
Above photo origin mortonhallgc.co.uk
This is my paternal 5th cousin, 4 times removed, Edward Henry Trotter. Edward was the son of Sir Henry Trotter, Major-General and his wife, Dame Eva Gifford.
Edward was born on December 1, 1872 and was to become a career military man beginning with his entrance to the Grenadier Guards as Second-Lieutenant on June 28, 1893. He was quickly promoted to Lieutenant on August 25, 1897.
During his early military career, Edward served in the Nile Expedition in 1898, taking part in the Battle Of Khartum receiving the Egyptian Medal with clasp. On June 28, 1900, Edward was promoted to the rank of Captain. He again saw action during the South African War (1900-1902) with the City of London Imperial Volunteers. Edward was involved in operations in the Orange Free State in 1900, including actions at the Zaand River, Transvaal, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill. He was also employed with Mounted Infantry in the Cape Colony (modern day Cape Town) during which time he was awarded the Queen's Medal with four clasps and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. The Insignia were presented by the King on October 29, 1901.
On September 26, 1908, Edward was again promoted, this time to Major. Edward next saw action in Europe during the early days of World War I. Edward was given the rank of Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel on September 1, 1914 and was commanding the 18th Battallion , Liverpool Regiment. Although Edward had a bad knee, the result of an earlier hunting accident, he often joined his men in their daily exercises. Colonel Edward "Teddy" Trotter earned admiration from his men who referred to him as an exceptional leader and one of the most marvelous men they could ever work with or under. Under Edward's command, the 18th Battallion's prowess in inter-battallion competitions earned them the nickname "Trotter's Greyhounds".
The 18th Battallion landed at Boulougne, France, in November 1915 and made their way to the Somme. On July 1, 1916, the first day of The Battle Of The Somme, the 18th advanced their position towards Montauban on the left flank of the French troops. The British troops sustained their heaviest casualties. Edward estimated the casualties of the 18th at around 500. Despite the heavy losses, the British achieved their objectives, one of the few successes of that day.
Having been reduced to minimal strength, the 18th Battallion was convered to a carrier battallion. On July 8, 1916, the 18th was ordered to move forward. Edward decided to proceed his men and arrived ahead of them. The movement of the troops prompted the Germans to begin shelling the area. A german shell landed at the front of the brigade headquarters killing Edward Trotter, a lieutenant, two other military personnel and mortally wounding Lieutenant-Colonel William Smith of the 18th Manchester Battallion.
Edward was buried at the Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France.
Following Edward's death, a newspaper article wrote the following:
"A tribute to the benefits of sport was paid in his will by Lieut.-Colonel E. H. Trotter, D.S.O., Grenadier Guards, who was killed in France in July. He left £25,170, and bequeathed:— ‘To the Grenadier Guards the regimental cup which I won the first year I joined, in the hope that sport of all sorts will long flourish in the regiment, it having been my experience in all the wars I have been in that the best sportsman makes the best soldier, and I should like this fact to be inscribed on the cup.’”
Edward was not my only relative killed in action during World War I, and not even the only one killed in action during The Battle Of The Somme. Unlike some of the other's though, including my maternal Great-Grandfather, at least Edward's grave is known and will give me the chance to pay my respects the next time I am in France.