CARRICK Edmund 1873 – 1957

EDMUND CARRICK 1873 – 1957


Edmund Carrick was born 1873 at Evenwood and he worked as a miner.  He was married 3 times.  His first wife Ann died in 1909, his second wife Hannah probably died in the USA during or shortly after the war and his third wife Rose survived Edmund by 22 years. 

In September 1914, aged 41½, Edmund enlisted into the Durham Light Infantry and joined 2/DLI on the Western Front in August 1915 before being transferred about 6 months later (February 1916) to 177 Tunnelling Company RE.  Sapper E. Carrick served with this unit for 6 months at Railway Wood on the Ypres Salient before being re-mustered to 176 Tunnelling Company.  He served from August 1916 to December 1917 in the Givenchy sector preparing for the Arras Offensive and thereafter in the Gavelle/Oppy sector.  6 December 1917, Sapper E. Carrick was gassed and was sent to the UK for treatment.  He did not respond well to treatment and was discharged in December 1918, aged 45 years 9 months.  He had served a total of 4 years 115 days in the Army, 2 years 127 days of which were in France and Belgium.

Edmund resumed his employment at Randolph Colliery, Evenwood and died aged 83 in 1957.

Family Details

Edmund Carrick was born 13 March 1873[1], probably the 3rd son of Joseph and Margaret Carrick.  There were at least 3 children, all born at Evenwood: [2]

  • Henry bc.1865
  • Joseph bc.1868
  • Edmund born 1873

In 1881, the family lived at Gordon Lane, Ramshaw, including 8 years old Edmund. Joseph worked as a coal miner [hewer] [3]  By 1891, 18 years old Edmund lived with his older brother Joseph and his wife Elizabeth at the Oaks, Evenwood.  Joseph and Edmund both worked as coal miners.  Their widowed mother Margaret lived with them. [4]

Edmund Carrick married 3 times.  His first marriage was in 1895 to Ann Burton, an Evenwood girl.[5]  Edmund and Ann lived at Evenwood in 1901 where 28 years old Edmund worked as a coal miner [hewer].[6]  In 1909, Ann Carrick died aged 34.[7]

1 March 1910, Edmund married for the second time to Hannah Wilson Evans [a widow] at Bishop Auckland.[8]  By 1911, Edmund and Hannah lived at New Row, Evenwood [9] where 38 years old Edmund worked as a coal miner [hewer].  There were 3 visitors at the time of the census:

  • David Evans, 18 years old and recorded as son and single born in Wales [presumably Hannah’s son]
  • Florence Smith aged 25 and 2½ years old Russell E. Smith, presumably Florence’s son, both born in the United States.[10] It is presumed that the above named David and Florence were Hannah’s children from a previous marriage.  In 1914, a US army attestation form records Hannah Carrick’s address as 729 Colorado Street, Butte City, Montana, USA.[11] 

Edmund’s third marriage took place in 1922 and was to Rose H. McLaurie.[12] I have not traced the death of Edmund’s second wife, Hannah.  Perhaps she died in the USA.  In 1939, Edmund and Rose lived at Delaware Avenue, Evenwood.  Edmund worked as a coal miner.[13]  Edmund Carrick died in 1957, aged 83, registered in south west Durham[14] and in September 1979, Rose died, aged 92, in Leicestershire.[15]

Military Details

7 September 1914, Edmund Carrick enlisted into the Durham Light Infantry and was given the regimental number 9570.  His age was recorded as 34 years 4 months.[16]  He lied about his age.  He was 7 years older and would have been 41½ years old.  He stood 5’9½” tall, weighed 160 lbs., had a fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair, and his religion was Church of England.[17]

A brief account of his service is provided below:

  • 12 September 1914: Promoted to Lance Corporal
  • 15 April 1915: Voluntarily demoted back to private
  • 17 August 1915: Posted to 2/DLI in France
  • 18 February 1916: Transferred to Royal Engineers, 177 Tunnelling Company and given regimental number 151485
  • 8 August 1916: re-mustered to 176th Tunnelling Company
  • 6 December 1917: wounded, gassed
  • 22 December 1917: Home for medical treatment
  • 11 September 1918: discharged from the Army to the Reserve [class B]

151485 Sapper E. Carrick served a total of 4 years 115 days, 2 years 127 days in France.[18]

  • Home: 07.09.1914 – 16.08.1915.……………………….344 days
  • France: 17.08.1915 – 21.12.1917.…………2 years…127 days
  • Home: 22.12.1917 – 11.09.1918……………1 year……..9 days (incorrect, only about 9 months?)
  • Total:                                                              4 years….115 days

The 2nd Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry [19]

The 2nd Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry (2/DLI) was a Regular Army battalion and with the outbreak of war was immediately mobilized.  It came under the orders of the 18th Brigade, 6th Division.  10 September 1914, the 6th Division landed at St. Nazaire, France and proceeded to the Western Front where it remained throughout the war.  It arrived in time to reinforce the BEF on the Aisne before the whole army was moved north to Flanders. [20]  2/DLI was involved in the following actions:

  • 20 September 1914: The Battle of the Aisne
  • 13 October 1914: The Battle of Armentieres
  • 15 & 16 June 1915: The Second Action at Givenchy
  • 16 June 1915: The First Attack on Bellewaarde
  • 2 June, 19 & 30 July and 9 August 1915: Hooge [21]

Following these engagements, Private E. Carrick entered France 17 August 1915 as a draft to reinforce the battalion in view of the losses sustained in action.[22]  The Ypres Salient was the focus of activity and holding the Salient was a priority for the British forces. 2/DLI was not involved in another major engagement until 15 September 1916 the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, a phase of the Battle of the Somme,[23] by which time Private Carrick had been transferred to the Royal Engineers.  During his 6 months serving with 2/DLI, between 17 August 1915 and 17 February 1916, the battalion lost 2 officers and 97 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds.[24]  Duty at the Ypres Salient was no picnic.

Royal Engineers: The Tunnelling Companies

18 February 1916, Private E. Carrick was transferred to Royal Engineers, 177th Tunnelling Company and given regimental number 151485.  He served with this unit until 8 August 1916 when he was re-mustered to 176th Tunnelling Company.  He was gassed 6 December 1917 and sent to the UK for treatment 22 December 1917.  He did not return to the Western Front.  His war was effectively over and 11 September 1918, Sapper E. Carrick was discharged from the Army due to wounds received in action. 

The formation of the new Royal Engineers’ Tunnelling Companies began during the winter of 1914-1915 and was treated as an urgent priority by the War Office.  Miners declared surplus to the war effort at home were encouraged to join up. Once at the front, after a very short period of military training the new companies were rushed to the areas where their expertise was most needed.  By July 1916, there were a total of 32 tunnelling companies, 25 British, 3 Australian, 3 Canadian and 1 New Zealand operating along the British Front.  A census taken in June 1916 recorded that there were between 18,000 and 24,000 men continuously employed underground. [25]  When at full strength, a company could field 500-600 miners and was often reinforced by fatigue parties drawn from infantry battalions in reserve.  Company numbers could get into 4 figures.[26]  On joining up, tunnellers were initially assessed at Chatham, into 3 classes:

  • those who held positions of foremen in civilian life (say a deputy at the pit) would be recruited as an NCO known as a “ganger”
  • those with experience were “face-men” i.e. clay-kickers (hewers in coal mining terms) and timbering
  • others with less experience, “mates” could be timbermen, baggers or runners-out responsible for getting the spoil out of the tunnels.

In practice, the face-men and their mates all worked taking turns to extract the clay/chalk.  Regular army Royal Engineers, CSMs and CQMSs would be drawn into the company.  Officer Commanding (OC) would be a RE Major or Captain with 4 section officers who would be professional engineers holding the temporary rank of subaltern.  Each officer had a “batman” (servant).

An incentive was the rate of pay which was an excellent wage for a working man at the time.  Face-men received 6 shillings a day, a mate 2 shilling and tuppence.  Both rates were significantly higher than an average infantryman whose daily pay was 1 shilling and threepence. [27]  A tour of duty in the tunnels was normally 4 days in and 4 days out but as time went by due to the increasing number of casualties and the demands of the task in hand, tours were increased to 6 in and 2 out.  The men were also given more days leave than their infantry colleagues for example the aim for officers was a fortnight every 3 months. [28]

The first 9 Royal Engineer Tunnelling Companies, numbers 170 to 178, were commanded by a regular RE officer.  They comprised 5 officers and 269 sappers, aided by temporarily attached infantrymen as required which almost doubled the number.[29] By mid-1916, the British Army had about 25,000 trained tunnellers, mostly volunteers taken from coal mining communities and almost twice that number of attached infantry worked permanently alongside the trained sappers as “beasts of burden”. [30]

177th Tunnelling Company

From its formation in June 1915 to July 1917, the 177th Tunnelling Company was part of the British Second Army.  It was under the command of Captain P.W. Bliss, R.E. Within 2 weeks of arriving in France, it had commenced sinking 2 shafts called Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle near Terdeghem. [31]   Its HQ was at various locations – Hooge, Wytschaete, Mount Sorrel, Messines and Railway Wood. [32]  The 177th Company was custodians of a front of nearly 3000 yards extending from Bois Carre in the south to Kruisstraat Cabaret in the north, with the village of Wytschaete in the centre.  In November 1915, the Company was relieved by the 250th Tunnelling Company [33] and moved to the Railway Wood area where it remained for 2 years. [34] 

During the period February to August 1916 when Sapper E. Carrick served with 177 TC, it was initially working around the Ypres area at Railway Wood, the Menin Road near Hooge, Lancashire Farm and constructing underground dugouts at Cambridge Road.  At 31 March 1916, its strength was 21 officers and 323 other ranks and attached infantry was 12 officers and 522 other ranks.  The Germans attacked and took Sanctuary Wood 2 June 1916.  As a result, no work was possible at Hooge after that.  The enemy blew 4 craters 6 June under a particular position (C.4.71) and took it, including all underground workings.  By August work was concentrated at 4 main locations at Railway Wood, Birr Cross Roads, Canal Bank dugouts, “strong points” at 5 places and at Cambridge Road, a dressing station had been made and a connection to the front line had been commenced.  At Wisques, a “demonstration mine” was completed and fired. 

Over this period of about 6 months, casualties were relatively light, 71 in total, consisting of 7 Royal Engineers and 11 infantrymen killed and 20 RE and 33 infantrymen wounded. 

By 31 July 1916, the strength was 21 officers and 358 other ranks and attached infantry, 8 officers and 525 other ranks.[35]  In early August, Sapper E. Carrick joined 176 Tunnelling Company.

Mining in the Ypres Salient: Plan to show the sectors

176 Tunnelling Company

8 August 1916, Sapper E. Carrick joined 176 TC.  Its HQ was at Hersin and the mining work was around the village of Carency, about 8 miles north west of Arras. 

1915: The village of Clarency

The company was formed in April 1915 at Lestrem under the command of Captain Momber RE,[36] and it took over the Givenchy sector in June 1915.[37] From the beginning of mining on the Western Front, the sector was at the fore front of activity.  Givinchy was a small scattered village located on rising ground sloping up from La Bassee in the east and to the north, over low lying marshy ground beyond Festubert.  Most of the mining took place at the northern end of the sector.  All shafts were troubled with water and power pumps had to be installed for drainage in many.  Enemy raids were commonplace and listening posts were established.[38]

The Company War Diary [39] reports that 3 men joined for duty from base, 21 August 1916.  Perhaps Sapper E. Carrick was one of these men.  The activity in this sector, in terms of blowing mines, camouflets and craters was more violent here than what Sapper E. Carrick had witnessed at the Ypres Salient.

British tunnellers blew 3 mines on the 14 September, 2 on the 16th, 2 on 12 October, 2 on the 23rd, and another 2 on the 27th.  The Germans replied with “blows” 19 September when Captain Williams and 2 men were killed, and on the 27th a camouflet was fired.  November was characterised by sickness among the men.  British mines were exploded 7 December, 2 on the 15th, 1 on the 26th and another 2 on the 28th.  The enemy replied 12 December.  The company commenced with work on a main infantry communication trench.     

New Year’s Day 1917, saw the Germans blow a mine but there were no casualties.  The British responded with 2 mines, of 5000 lbs and 6000 lbs, on the 7th, to which the enemy hit back exploding 5 mines on the 11th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 31st January.  5 men were killed and 1 died of wounds.  The Germans fired a camouflet 13 February but no casualties inflicted.  The British replied with a 5000 lb camouflet the following day.  Another enemy camouflet was blown 25 March.

The British and Canadians had been preparing for a major offensive around the city of Arras which commenced with the Canadians’ successful action at Vimy Ridge 9 – 14 April, later to be regarded as part of the Battle of Arras which continued at various positions until late August.[40] The War Diary contains a 5 page report of its work during April 1917, associated with the offensive.[41] It begins:

“The work of the Company during the latter half of March and up to the 9th of April consisted to a great extent in preparations for the General Offensive which began on the latter date.  The task allotted to the Company was the provision of the two Infantry sub-ways, Gobon & Coburg, with suitable accommodation off both, and the preparation of three mines Z1, RILI upper and lower and C3RILI.”

Casualties leading up to and including the early days of the offensive, during the 9 months from early August 1916 to the end of April 1917, totalled 86 comprising 16 men killed in action, 69 wounded/gassed and 1 hospitalised with shell shock.  This figure does not include those men who were reported as, “injured” or “sick”.  Presumably, the numbers reported in the War Diary relate to RE men only and not attached infantrymen.[42]   

Following the successful explosion of the mines and the launch of the troops from their positions underground, the Germans were in retreat and the tasks of the Company were altered.  The unit was engaged on the speedy repair and construction of roads so that the guns could move up over the captured territory to support the infantry.  Work was required in the area of Neuville St. Vaast to Thelus village, Souchez village, the Souchez to Aix Noulette road and Camblain L’Abbe to Mt. St. Eloy.   

In May, the Company HQ was moved to a position near Roclincourt and the company’s work was opposite Oppy and Gavrelle.  The first part of the month saw a continuation of the work reconstructing roads, laying water pipes, grading and laying light and heavy railways, preparing sites and erecting water troughs.  Task during the later period, involved the construction of machine gun emplacements and dugouts in forward and support areas.

In June, the company was engaged in construction of dugouts for Battalion HQ, platoon HQs, machine gun emplacements and dugouts for siege batteries.  Intermittently, heavy enemy shelling was experienced at Pont du Four and Viscount Street but casualties were few.[43] It was much of the same for the next few months into November when the unit was specifically employed in the construction of deep dugouts for the front line garrison in the Gavrelle-Oppy Sector and similar work for the heavy and field artillery personnel behind this sector. 

The War Diary for 6 December reports as follows:[44]

“Eleven men admitted to hospital Gassed (battle casualty) Ten men Gassed (At duty) Battle casualties.”

Sapper E. Carrick was one of these casualties and his condition was so severe that he was sent back to the UK for treatment 22 December 1917. 

During the period from 1 May to 6 December 1917 (approx. 7 months), there were 60 casualties comprising 5 men killed in action, 1 officer wounded (Lieut. W.Y.A. Robertson 18 May 1917) and 54 wounded/gassed.[45]

Sapper E. Carrick’s recovery was not good enough for him to see further service.  He was discharged 11 September 1918.  His condition was recorded as “neurasthenia.”[46] This is now defined as, “a condition that is characterized especially by physical and mental exhaustion…chronic fatigue syndrome.” [47]  His true age was recorded.  He was then aged 45 years and 9 months.[48]

Edmund joined the Army Reserve [class B] and resumed work at Randolph Colliery, Evenwood. [49]

Medals and Awards

Sapper E. Carrick was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals[50] and he also received the Silver War Badge, no.B.225399.[51]

Medal Roll card index


[1] 1939 England & Wales Register

[2] 1881 census, probably Ramshaw

[3] 1881 census

[4] 1891 census

[5] England & Wales Marriage Index

[6] 1901 census

[7] England & Wales Death Index

[8] Army Form B.2065 section 11: Particulars of marriage

[9] New Row is probably part of Gordon Row, Ramshaw

[10] 1911 census Florence is recorded as American and Russell as “Yankee”

[11] Army Form B.2065 section 10: name & address of next of kin. Did Edmund and Hannah emigrate to the USA?  If so when and when did Edmund return?  Did Hannah die in the USA allowing Edmund to marry for a 3rd time?

[12] England & Wales Marriage Index

[13] 1939 England & Wales Register

[14] England & Wales Death Index 1916-2007 Vol. 1a p.697

[15] England & Wales Death Index 1916 – 2007 Vol.6 p.1785 Sept.1979

[16] Army Form B.2065

[17] Description on Enlistment

[18] Military History Sheet NOTE: The 2nd period at Home is less than the total recorded?

[19] “The Steel of the DLI: 2nd Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry” J. Sheen 2009 p.119 – 137


[21] & and 1915.htm

[22] Sheen p.119


[24] Officers Died in the Great War & Soldiers Died in the Great War (ODGW & SDGW)

[25] “Tunnellers” Capt. W. Grant Grieve & B. Newman 1936 p.110-111

[26] “The Underground War: Military Mining Operations in Support of the Attack on Vimy Ridge 9 April 1917” Michael Boire 1992 p.4 Note: this source states that there were TCs numbered 33

[27] “Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers’ War 1914-1918” 2004 P. Barton, P. Doyle & J. Vandewalle p.65

[28] Barton et al p.182



[31] “Tunnellers: the story of the Tunnelling Companies, Royal Engineers, during the World War” Capt. W. Grant Grieve & Bernard Newman 1936 p61


[33] See 6 p.216

[34] See 6 p.248

[35] 177th Tunnelling Company RE War Diary February to August 1916 National Archives reference WO-95-404-7

[36] Grieve & Newman p.58

[37] Grieve & Newman p.64

[38] Grieve & Newman p.163 & 164

[39] 176th Tunnelling Company War Dairy August 1916 to December 1917 National Archive reference WO-95-244-6


[41] WO-95-244-6 p.58-61.

[42] 176 Tunnelling Company War Diary August 1916 to end of April 1917, author’s total.  There is no statement to confirm whether the men killed or wounded were RE men only or included attached infantrymen

[43] WO-95-244-6 p.66

[44] WO-95-244-6 p.85

[45] 176 Tunnelling Company War Diary August 1916 1 May to 6 December 1917, author’s total.  There is no statement to confirm whether the men killed or wounded were RE men only or included attached infantrymen.

[46] Army Form 179


[48] Army Form B.179

[49] Army Form W.5003B

[50] Medal Roll Card Index

[51] Roll of individuals entitled to the War Badge