yeovil at War

Edward Pinney

Died in Germany as a Prisoner of War

 

Edward Pinney was born in Yeovil in 1878, the son of tailor Richard Diment Pinney (1841-1909) and his wife Jane (b 1845). In the 1881 census Richard and Jane were listed in South Street with their children; Catherine aged 9, Robert aged 6 and 3-year old Edward. By the time of the 1891 census Richard and Jane had moved to 33 Park Street and were living there with just Edward - who was now aged 14 and working as a baker. He was also, at one time, employed at the offices of the Western Gazette. In the 1901 census Edward was listed as a boarder living at 1 Queen Square, Chippenham, Wiltshire. He gave his occupation as a carpenter's labourer.

I couldn't find him in the 1911 census but he presumably remained at Chippenham since he enlisted at Chippenham and became Private Pinney (Service No 8189) of 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment.

The 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment had been stationed at Gibraltar before the war but returned to England in September 1914 where it came under command of 21st Brigade in 7th Division. The following month landed at Zeebrugge, Belgium. Henry, as a regular soldier, is likely to have joined his new Regiment straight away.

He was named on a list of Yeovil recruits published in the local press on 1 December 1914, however it noted in the list that he was already a prisoner of war at this time.

He is known to have been sent to a prisoner's internment camp in Kessel (Cassel), Germany. This is most likely to have been the Langensalza camp (which opened in 1914 and held 10,000 men) or possibly the Ohrdruf  camp (located on a former Army training ground and holding 15,000 men). He died as a prisoner of war on 16 June 1916, aged 38, and was buried in the nearby Niederzwehren Cemetery.

On 4 August 1916 the Western Gazette reported "Mrs Bradford, of Hendford Cottage, has been informed that Private E Pinney (2nd Wilts Regiment) died at a prisoner’s internment camp in Germany during the month of June. The information was forwarded by his corporal, who, however, could give no details as he himself was away at a working camp. Parcels were sent to the deceased right up to the time of his death by Mrs Bradford (including some of his friends at the Western Gazette where he had previously been employed), and letters and postcards received from him showed his evident appreciation of the gifts."

Edward Pinney was interred in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kessel, Germany, and his name is inscribed on the War Memorial in the Borough.

 

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A contemporary sketch of Allied prisoners at the Langensalza POW camp.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Edward Pinney.

 

Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kessel, Germany

The Niederzwehren Cemetery at Kessel, Germany, was begun by the Germans in 1915 for the burial of prisoners of war who died at the local camp. During the war almost 3,000 Allied soldiers and civilians, including French, Russian and Commonwealth, were buried there. In 1922-23 it was decided that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries. Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1,500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony. There are now 1,796 First World War servicemen buried or commemorated in the Commonwealth plot at Niederzwehren. This total includes special memorials to 13 casualties buried in other cemeteries in Germany whose graves could not be found.