Private Edward Merriman (8282)
Killed in action 23rd August, 1914, aged 27.2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment.
Ted Merriman was one of five children of Irish immigrants and had lived at 14, Ashbourne Road, Leek. A single man and a former footballer with Leek Alexandria, he joined the army as a regular soldier before the war.
On 23rd August, 1914, units of the regular British Army clashed with the German Army at the Belgian town of Mons, in what became the first battle of the war.
Although vastly superior in number and firepower, the Germans were shocked by the accuracy and rate of the British rifle fire, believing that machine guns were being used against them. The Kaiser’s forces lost some 5,000 men, killed wounded and missing whilst the British lost around 1,600.
Ted Merriman was one of those killed and the very first of those named on the memorial to be killed in action. Like so many countless thousands to follow him his body was never found or identified.
The initial skirmishes around Mons were the very first and last engagements of the war, opening with some British Cavalry coming across the Germans and opening fire in the very first shots of the war. The very last shots of the war some four years later, were fired just 200 yards further up the road. This insignificant fact helps portray the very stagnant war fought in France and Flanders.