Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1857 & 1869

Cpt. Lancelot Kerby Edwards (1838 - 1867)

 Captain Lancelot Kerby Edwards was a soldier in the 54th Regiment of Foot (West Norfolk) and took part in supressing the "Indian Mutiny" in 1857 – 59.

He was born in Newington, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire in 1838. His father was *James Edwards (b.1801) who was a Clergyman at St Giles Church, Newington. His mother was Jane Edwards (b.1801 at Chalgrove, Oxfordshire). In 1841 the family was living at Newington, where Lancelot was aged 3. His parents were both 40 years old and his siblings were Carline aged 6 and James aged 5. However in 1845, Lancelot's father died, aged 44. In 1851, the family lived at Great Milton, Thame, Oxfordshire, where Jane was described as Clergyman's widow. Carline was also present aged 16, but 13-year-old Lancelot was attending St Mary's College in Winchester, Hampshire and brother James George was attending St Peter's College, Westminster, London.

On 7th March 1856 (a month after the end of the Crimean War), The London Gazette records 18-year-old Lancelot Kerby Edwards, Gent, became an Ensign in the 54th Regiment of Foot, by purchase, as Ensign Bayley had been promoted. In 1857, the 54th Regiment of Foot was deployed to India to suppress the Indian Rebellion. About 350 men and five women of the Headquarters staff boarded the SS Sarah Sands, one of the earliest iron, screw type steamers.

But on 11th November 1857, en route via the Cape of Good Hope, fire broke out. The ship was a thousand miles from nearest land and outside the shipping lanes. Some of the crew abandoned ship in the two best lifeboats, leaving the Officers and the rest of the crew to fight the fire. The ladies were put in another lifeboat with what provisions could be found plus the Regimental colours. Some of the explosives were thrown overboard. There was an explosion at one point and the iron hull glowed red hot, but the fire was contained, the lifeboats were recovered and the SS Sarah Sands limped one thousand miles to Mauritius.

The Regiment was sent to Calcutta and although it saw little action, Lancelot was promoted to Lieutenant. Then on 30th December 1864, the London Gazette records that Lancelot was made Captain, by purchase, following the retirement of A Robert Guy Evered. The Regiment was returned to England in 1866, to be stationed at Manchester Barracks, where Lancelot received the Indian Mutiny Medal.

On 13th June 1867, Lancelot Kerby Edwards died in Salford, aged 29 and was buried at Weaste Cemetery. According to Salford War Memorials group, the will was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of James George Edwards, of 4 Elm Court Temple, London, Barrister-at-Law, the brother and sole Executor.

*The history of St Giles Church, Newington records that James Edwards followed Phineas Pett (Rector 1802 – 1830), and says "both Pett and his successor James Edwards (1830 – 1845) resided and died in office. Pett being commemorated by a memorial plaque in the chancel and Edwards by a silver flagon and paten presented to the church in 1845."