340662 Gunner Edward Laskey, Royal Garrison Artillery died of wounds 10 August 1917 and is buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France.[1]  He was about 38 years old and is commemorated on the West Auckland War Memorial.

Family Details                                       

Edward was born 21 December 1879[2] the son of Edward and Mary Laskey.[3]  There were 5 children:[4]

  • Jane bc.1869 at Bishop Auckland
  • William bc.1873 at Metal Bridge near Ferryhill
  • Elizabeth bc.1875 at Metal Bridge
  • Margaret bc.1878 at Metal Bridge
  • Edward born 21 December 1879 at Metal Bridge

In 1871 Edward and Mary Laskey lived at Blue Row (Eldon Lane, Bishop Auckland) where Edward worked as a miner.[5]  Edward died in 1880[6] and by 1881, 38 year old Mary, now a widow lived Metal Bridge with her 5 children.[7]

In 1898, youngest son Edward married Mary E. Douthwaite [8] and by 1901 they lived at Adamson’s Row, South Church, Bishop Auckland where Edward worked as a drayman.[9]  By 1911, Edward and Mary had 4 children:

  • Thomas Douthwaite bc.1902 at South Church
  • William bc.1904 at West Auckland
  • Jane bc.1906 at West Auckland
  • Robert bc.1910 at West Auckland

By 1911, the family lived 15 Catherine Street, Spennymoor and 31 year old Edward worked as a coal miner (hewer).[10] Later, the family lived at Front Street West Auckland[11] and then Mary lived at 7 New Street, West Auckland.[12]

Service Details

Edward enlisted at Bishop Auckland into the Royal Garrison Artillery and served with the Territorial Force, the Essex and Suffolk Battalion and was given the regimental number 340662.  The battalion joined the 124th Siege Battery.  The unit was formed at Portsmouth 22 March 1916 and entered France 20 July 1916.  It was disbanded 4 November 1919.  The service record of Gunner E. Laskey has not been traced.  He died of wounds at 19th Casualty Clearing Station 10 August 1917.[13]

The Role of the Siege Battery

Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire. The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway or road mounted 12 inch howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralizing the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strong points, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines. The armaments of each battery will be given as details are added.[14]

The War Diary for the 9th August records the following: [15]

“Place: Map 51 8NW: 7.30am: Detachment on No.1 gun hit by 1 of 20 rounds on position.  2 men killed, 1 since died of wounds & 5 wounded. “

It is assumed that Private E. Laskey was one of the 6 men wounded that day.

The page for the 9th August includes the entry:

“Capt. Maufe awarded the VC

Cpl. Davis awarded the Decoration Militaire Belgian”

4 June 1917, Feuchy, France:  Second Lieutenant Thomas H.B. Maufe [16] aged 19, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire was responsible for saving a potentially disastrous situation.  It was reported as follows:

“For most conspicuous bravery and initiative. 

Under intense artillery fire, this officer, on his own initiative and under intense artillery fire repaired, unaided, the telephone line between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery to open fire on the enemy. 

2nd Lt. Maufe further saved what might have proved a most disastrous occurrence by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump caused by a heavy explosion, regardless of the risk he ran from the effects of gas shells which he knew were in the dump.

By his great promptitude, resource and entire disregard of his own personal safety, he set an exceptionally fine example to all ranks.” [17]

The actions of Corporal Davis leading to his award have not been traced.

340662 Gunner Edward Laskey was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[18]


Private E. Laskey is buried at grave reference VI.B.22, Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France.    The cemetery was used by the 8th 19th 41st 23rd 7th & 1st and 4th Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations.  There are 3,207 Commonwealth burials and 88 German war graves. [19]


Gunner E. Laskey is commemorated on the West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, Memorial Hall, West Auckland.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] Laskey Family Tree at ANCESTRY.COM

[3] 1871 census

[4] 1871 & 1881 census

[5] 1871 census

[6] England & Wales Death Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.66 Stockton 1880 Q3

[7] 1881 census

[8] England & Wales Marriage Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.304 Auckland 1898 Q1 Note: Family Tree records 26 August 1898

[9] 1901 census

[10] 1911 census

[11] Family information

[12] CWGC

[13] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1921


[15] War Diary 124 [S] Battery RGA Army Form C.2118

[16] By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of major.  He died in 1942 while serving in the Home Guard.

[17] No 30215 The London Gazette [Supplement] 31 July 1917 p.7906 &

[18] Medal Roll

[19] CWGC


Edward Laskey and wife, Polly

Edward Laskey
and wife, Polly

LASKEY E. Headstone