Published By John Davies
Edwin Sagar was originally from Rawtenstall, Lancashire where he was born in 1894. He was the second youngest son of Thomas Sagar, a farmer at Hargreaves Fold Farm in Lumb-in-Rossendale, and mother Mary. There were 7 children – James, Thomas, John, Annie, Ernest, himself and Richard, the youngest. By 1911 the family had split up. The eldest boys had married and were living in Blackburn and Manchester. The younger siblings – Annie, Ernest, Richard and Edwin were sharing a house at 1242 Burnley Road in Lumb where they were working as weavers.
Edwin enlisted at Rawtenstall in September 1914 joining the 6 Bn Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, a Service or ‘Pals’ battalion. His connection to Oswestry is through one of his brothers who came to live in the town. In a letter dated 1914 and published in the Border Counties Advertiser (BCA) he wrote to his brother – Mr Sagar of Oswald Road. In the letter Edwin recounts some of his experiences during training on Salisbury Plain ‘we have some singing in the barrack room every night. I sang for the first time last night. You don’t feel nervous among these. Everybody sings like mad. I sang ‘The Wolf’ and went at it. When I finished I got a good cheer and they said ‘I was the best singer in the room!’ but that is not saying much. One old man whom I’ve slept with many a time, and who has been through the Boar War said ‘by gum Ned, I wish I was going to the front with you. Then, after another man had sung, I sang ‘Drinking’ – you know it – and they liked that best of all.’ It is not possible to say which brother this was but he was also responsible for Edwin’s obituary also in the BCA – in which he is listed as Lance Corporal in Manchester Regiment.
The 6 Bn East Lancs. were posted to the Dardanelles and left England in June/July 1915. At sometime Edwin was wounded during the fighting at Gallipoli and was invalided back to England. When he had recovered he was posted to 3 Bn East Lancs, the regiment’s reserve battalion, and from there was posted to 1 Bn East Lancs, going over to France in July 1916 – probably in a draft of men who joined the battalion on 20 July on the Somme. The next month the battalion moved to Ypres and were operating mainly along the banks of the Yser Canal. At the time of Edwin’s death they were billeted in Ypres and were going up to the trenches on nighttime working parties in the trenches. He was reported missing on 3 September 1916 but not declared KIA until March 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.