Edmund Guy Houghton was born in 31st December 1881 in Walthamstow, the third and youngest son of auctioneer William Houghton. William and his wife, Edith Corfe Smith, had five children, although one child died before 1911. In 1901, William lived with his family at Pine Lodge, Whitehall Road, Woodford Green.
By 1911, Edmund was 29 years old and working as an estate agent. It is unknown where he was living because at the time of the 1911 census he was visiting an uncle in Surrey.
Edmund joined the army with the 16th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own). He was sent to the Western Front but was killed on 4th February 1916. He is buried in the Cambrin Churchyard Extension in France.
Research by Redbridge Museum
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Further research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
He was a Verderer of Epping Forest, and member of the Woodford Golf Club.
16th Battalion Middlesex Regiment was formed on 1st September 1914 and, in the manner of a “Pals Battalion”, comprised mainly of those who had attended public schools. Edmund joined up on 14th September 1914 at 24 St James’ Street SW1, arriving in Boulogne on 17th November 1915 when the Battalion deployed. His record shows he was 5ft 9 inches tall, 11 stone in weight, with blue eyes and brown hair.
The Battalion was initially part of 100 Brigade, 33 Division, and served in front line areas of France from the end of 1915. In February 1916 they were in the line between Bethune and La Bassee in the Department of Pas de Calais. Although this area did not see the major battles such as those on the Somme during the summer, there was certainly conflict and loss of life. It was one of these “minor operations” which cost Edmund Houghton his life.
He was a member of the Battalion Grenadier team who were trained in throwing hand grenades. They were called out late during the night of 3/4 February 1916 to undertake a small bomb attack on enemy positions. This was done, but the objective was not achieved, so a further attack was ordered for the night of 4/5 February.
Edmund Houghton was put in charge of a party of men, and was in the process of leading them out on the raid when he was shot and instantly killed.
After the war his brother John had to return Edmunds Death Plaque and Certificate for correction, because the name had been incorrectly spelt Edward.