EDWARD GEORGE DOVEY
Date of Death:07/02/1917
Regiment:Army Service Corps
Unit:4th Coy. 11th Div. Train
Cemetery:Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
It's known that Edward Dovey was a Londoner but hard facts about his early life are hard to ascertain. He may well be the Edward George Dovey born on February 18th 1887 with his parents being James (a carpenter) & Ellen Louisa. The first definite sign of him in the historical record is the 1911 census. At that time he was working as a baker and lodging at 240 Dalston Lane in Hackney with the Seward family, the father of which - Robert - was possibly Edward's employer. Edward's place of birth is given as Notting Hill Gate.
At some point in time he served six months with the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers but was discharged, possibly through ill health. When exactly that as in unfortunately unknown. Edward then settled in Royton, taking up employment at Kay's Bakery on Rochdale Road. On April 13th 1914 at St.Paul's Church he married Esther Ogden Mellor. Esther was the sister of Frank Mellor. A daughter,Esther, arrived on March 15th 1915. They lived together at 49 Fir Bank Road.
Not long after Esther's birth, Edward re-enlisted in the army on May 15th 1915 in Royton. Five days later he was in Aldershot as a member of the Army Service Corps. Whilst there he passed a bakers examination. There was to be no long period in England before being posted abroad as he left Devonport on June 1st bound for Alexandria, arriving on June 13th. On July 9th 1915 Edward was on the move again, this time on the SS Mercian and bound for Mudros on the island of Lemnos. Mudros was the advanced staging post for the Gallipoli campaign being fought some sixty miles away. Upon arrival there on July 11th Edward was assigned not as a baker but as a member of the Field Butchery unit.
After the end of that ill fated campaign Edward and many others found themselves back in Egypt. His brother in law Frank was not one of those fortunate enough to do so.Edward was struck down in Egypt with asthma and was hospitalised in Cairo from February 5th 1916 to March 8th.
The 11th Division, a formation of volunteer units raised after Kitchener's great call to arms, had fought at Gallipoli and in 1916 were moved from Egypt to the Western Front. Edward Dovey was allocated to the 11th Divisional Train. Each division in the army had transport under it's own command known as the Divisional Train. It moved stores and supplies and was the main supply line up to the transport of the brigades of infantry and artillery units within the division. They left Alexandria on July 3rd 1916 and reached Marseille on July 9th. During Edward's time on the Western Front the 11th Division fought at the Battle of the Somme.
Edward received leave back to Royton, apparently in poor health, from October 24th to November 2nd 1916. He parted from his family and died a little over three months later. On February 6th 1917 he was admitted to the No.2 Stationary Hospital in Abbeville with severe asthma. That night he suffered two severe asthmatic seizures and died on February 7th. Cause of death was given as acute Bronchitis.
Later that month during a service at St.Paul's the Rev.J.H Humphrey said:
"the thoughts of many are in France as we remember before God today the life, the death of one of the best and noblest of our young fellows, Edward Dovey. He was not a native of Royton. He had not lived here many years, but during the time he was amongst us he endeared himself to one and all by his good and blameless life, by his straightforwardness and honesty of purpose, by his grand sense of duty and self sacrifice. Very soon after the war commenced he went to Egypt, from there to the Dardanelles and then back to Egypt. Afterwards he was sent to France. He had a short leave some four months ago when I saw him. He was very ill and not fit to return to duty.But like the hero he was he went back and worked hard until the last. He gave in only on February 6th and not many hours later he passed peacefully to his rest. He was buried in the local cemetery set aside for British soldiers. I entertained for him, as you did, the highest regard and esteem. I remember so well preparing him for confirmation....I recollect too, marrying him in 1914. How reverent and devout he was as he and his bride swore to love one another until death should part. He has indeed kept that vow. How our hearts beat in tenderest sympathy with the young widow, with the fatherless child and all the relatives who are mourning so great a loss. Oh God, give them thy grace to bear this heavy load".
He is incorrectly named on the memorial in Royton Park as George Edward Dovey, rather than Edward George Dovey.