136319 L/Cpl. Edward Edwin Burns was born on August 18th, 1882, in Hoxton, London, England.

Edward's parents, Edward Burns and Matilda Drewe, both originally from Exeter, Devon, England, named their son after his father and his maternal grandfather, Edwin Drewe. In the 1901 Census he is shown as living with his mother, Matilda, and sisters in Hoxton, New Town, Middlesex, England, and employed as a printer compositer.

On October 18th, 1908, Edward married Elizabeth Ann Waughman at St. Matthews Parish, Bethnal Green, London, England. While living in London, England, they had two sons: Edwin in 1910 and Stanley in 1912.

In 1913 the family emigrated to Canada, settling in Brampton, Ontario. They bought a home in Queen St. E. and Edward started work as a printer compositor for Copeland-Chatterson Co. In 1915 he answered the call and was attested as 136319 with the 74th Battalion at Toronto, Ontario, on August 28th, 1915.

On October 1st, 1915, Edward was promoted to Lance Corporal and after further training, on March 28th, 1916, he embarked for England.

On June 8th, 1916, Edward proceeded to France as he was amongst 54 men transferred to the 4th CMR as a contingent to boost the regiment's numbers after their huge losses in the "Battle for Mount Sorrel" on June 2nd. Sadly he died of wounds on September 20th, 1916 whilst the 4th CMR was in action around Pozieres.

Edward's wife, Elizabeth Ann, received the last letter from him, which was written a few days before his death and retrieved from his body and delivered to her with his personal effects in May, 1917. The letter contained a hole from the bullet that seriously wounded him. She also received a letter of sympathy, dated September 21st, 1916, from Kathleen Holmes, Sister G.A.T.S.M.S. - S.S.M.Hospital B.E.F.

A further letter was written but never sent by Edward to former colleagues at Copeland-Chatterson. Written when he was in the line, the letter found it's way into a Brampton, Ontario, newspaper on June 1st, 1917, and describes life in the trenches near Zillebeke ("Zillerbecker"), an area the 4th CMR knew only too well. Click letter to read this soldier's eye view of life on the front line (once opened, you may need to click on the article itself to expand it).

Elizabeth, although only in Canada for three years and having two young sons, decided to remain in Canada. She later married her neighbour, George Gooderham, a widower, in 1932. Elizabeth died in October, 1970, aged 89.

Many thanks to Ted Burns (grandson) for the above biography and images.