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This post has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Frank Lockley.

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The roll of honour in the Midlands Counties Express of 18th May 1918 includes Private Edward Douglas Wagg of the North Midland Field Ambulance. It also states that his brother Gilbert Arthur had been killed the previous year.

Edward and Gilbert were sons of Arthur and Ada Wagg. They had an elder brother, Harry Clifford, and the family lived at 166 North Street. Fortunately the service records for both brothers have survived.

Edward was born in 1894. He initially enlisted in the territorial force in March 1911, when his occupation is shown as railway clerk. He was posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps and entered France in March 1915. His service record shows that he received a gunshot wound to in the leg and hand in October 1915 but only spent 1 day in hospital. He died on 10th May 1918 from the effects of gas poisoning received in action. He was treated in the Canadian General Hospital at Étaples and is buried in the Commonwealth War graves Étaples Cemetery.

His service record includes the details of his personal effects that were sent to his father. They included letters, photos, a cigarette case, fountain pen, coins and four unopened letters. He is commemorated on the North Midland Field Ambulance memorial in St. Peters church.

Gilbert was born in 1898 and appears to have enlisted on his 18th birthday, 27th May 1916, into the Army Reserve. His record shows that he was a clerk at the Chromographic Enamel Company in Dudley Road. He was mobilized to the 15th battalion London Regiment on 9th June 1917 and landed in France on 25th June. He was reported as initially missing but then killed in action just a few weeks later on 16th August. He is commemorated at the Menin Gate.

There is a poignant letter in his service records from Reverend William Collett, vicar of St. Marys church. It is written to the Officer in charge of Records regarding Rifleman Gilbert Wagg, dated 6th September …

I write in the interests of the parents. A pal of the above has written to say that after being in action with him round the 20th August he has lost him – Gilbert Wagg – . The last letter received was dated 10th Aug.

There is a rumour that he is prisoner of war. Can you give us any information about him or tell me to whom I should write

The newspaper article states that the brothers’ mother Ada had died in January 1918 (aged 43). Their father Arthur died in 1921 (aged 51) and there is correspondence in Glibert’s records between the surviving brother Harry and the Infantry records office in December 1921 to the effect that he was now next of kin and so entitled to receive Gilbert’s medals.

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