Pte Edwin Ernest Best (1890 – 1920)

Edwin Ernest Best was born in Sevenoaks during the latter half of 1890, the second of six children of Herbert Hards Best, a house painter, and his wife, Emma Savill. In 1901 the family were living at 53 Cobden Road in Sevenoaks but by 1903 had settled near Borough Green on Chapel Street in Ightham. Edwin finished up his schooling at Platt School before finding work as a nursery hand, possibly at Platt Nurseries.

By 1911 Edwin had moved out of his parent’s house and was boarding in Platt (Crouch Road) in the home of Arthur and Florence Terry, who also worked at the nursery. On 28 August 1915, he married Beatrice Jane Buss, a local girl working in domestic service.

On 24 February 1916 Edwin enlisted with the 1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and although his service papers have not survived, it seems likely that he was posted to join his unit in France towards the end of 1916, or by the start of 1917. The battalion took part in the Battle of Hill 70 (Cambrai) in 1917 and numerous operations throughout 1918 such as the Battles of St Quentin and the Lys, The Advance in Flanders, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and The Pursuit to the Selle. Edwin survived the fighting, and following the Armistice, his battalion joined the occupation force in Germany and based at Bruehl.

On 19 November 1919, Edwin was discharged from the Army as he was no longer physically fit. He had been suffering from cancer and died at his home on Windmill Hill in Wrotham Heath less than a year later on 6 June 1920.