Edwin George HASTINGS, was born in Kensington, London in late 1886. He was the son of Hammond Hastings, a carpenter, and Eliza née Rowbottom, whom he had married in 1871, of 1 Roseford Gardens, Shepherds Bush, London,
Edwin was educated at Finsbury Technical College, and by 1901, aged 14, he was an Office Boy for an Architect and living at home at 1 Roseford Gardens, with his widowed mother. This may have been an error as in 1911 she was again married to Hammond Hastings and still at that same address!! Indeed, it seems that he lived until he was 75, and did not die, in Islington, until 1923.
Before 1911 and probably in about 1909, Edwin moved to Rugby and in 1911 was lodging at 100 Railway Terrace, Rugby. He was still single and an Electrical Engineer. He worked at BTH, for three years in the Test Department and then for a similar period in the AC Engineers Department, where his brother Hammond Charles Hastings, who had also moved to Rugby, would become Chief Rheostat Engineer.
Edwin enlisted in Birmingham and joined the army as No. M2/118627 in the Mechanical Transport Section in August 1915, and he served in the 283rd Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps and was promoted to [acting] Lance-Corporal.
Edwin’s Medal Card has no indication of when he went to France, but he did not receive the 1915 Star so it was probably not until 1916 at the earliest.
The 283rd Mechanical Transport Company was one of the Army Service Corps Motor Transport Companies attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery as an Ammunition Column. It was formed in March 1915 and was the Ammunition Column for the 19th Brigade RGA [Royal Garrison Artillery]. Although slightly after the date of Edwin’s death, the HQ of 283rd Company was at Boisleux au Mont just south of Arras (from 15 May 1917 and until 31 May). The 283rd were also Corps Troops for the Corps Siege Park. However this was probably the area where he was working, probably moving ammunition ready for the heavy guns during Arras Offensive.
He died in France on 14 March 1917, not in action but from illness, possibly brought by the conditions or gas. According to the ‘Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects’, Edwin was evacuated to 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station at Doullens. He died there of pneumonia and was buried in grave ref: V. E. 70. at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1.
Doullens is north of Amiens and south-east of Arras. From the summer of 1915 to March 1916, Doullens was a junction between the French Tenth Army on the Arras front and the Commonwealth Third Army on the Somme. The citadel, overlooking the town from the south, was a French military hospital, and the railhead was used by both armies. In March 1916, Commonwealth forces succeeded the French on the Arras front and the 19th Casualty Clearing Station came to Doullens, followed by the 41st, the 35th and the 11th. By the end of 1916, these had given way to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital (which stayed until June 1918) and the 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station which is mentioned on Edwin’s records. From February 1916 to April 1918, these medical units continued to bury in the French extension (No 1) of the communal cemetery.
Probate was granted to his father, ‘Hammond Hastings, carpenter’, who indeed was still alive, on 5 November 1917, in the sum of £375-11-9d. Edwin’s back-pay of 14/11d was paid to his father as Administrator on 14 December 1917 and his gratuity of £6-10s was paid on 17 October 1919.
Edwin was awarded the Victory and British medals, and is listed among the BTH Employees who served in the War and he is remembered on the BTH War Memorial, and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM
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This article on Edwin George HASTINGS was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.
 General information from obituary notice in the Rugby Advertiser.