The background of this casualty was unclear, but the Blanks family tree on Ancestry suggests he was born in 1885 at Oxford, son of John Edwin (Agricultural Labourer) and Sarah Curtis. In 1891 he is living with his mother (Charwoman) in the house of his grandmother Ann Hounslow at 2 Dingles Yard, St Peter le Bailey, Oxford. In 1901 his mother is noted as a Widow while he is a Scholar, living at 2 West Court, Little Clarendon, Oxford. His father is said to have died in 1894.
During 1912 he married Christina Dwyer, a resident of Battersea, London. He appears to have been a Regular soldier in 8 Brigade Royal Field Artillery when the war began. This Howitzer Brigade was a Regular Army formation, and he disembarked with them in France on 19 August 1914. He was involved in the fighting during the autumn of that year, qualifying for the 1914 Star and “Mons Clasp”.
Having survived the war, he died in one of the Casualty Clearing Stations at Namur in Belgium, another possible victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic.
A John Edwin Curtis is listed as an absent voter at 63 Prospect Road, Woodford Green. This falls within the Parish of St Barnabas Church, and so may relate to this casualty. However his true links to Woodford remain unconfirmed.
Research by Adrian lee, Local Historian
Ancestry.com - in particular The Blanks Family tree