SOLE, Edward
(Service number 25/359)

Aliases Ted
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 3 June 1895 Place of Birth Waimate

Enlistment Information

Date 11 October 1915 Age 20 years 3 months
Address at Enlistment 634 Gloucester street, Christchurch
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs W. SOLE (mother), 634 Gloucester Street, Christchurch
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 6½ inches. Weight 140 lbs. Chest measurement 31-33½ inches. Complexion fresh. Eyes brown. Hair brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth pass. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Temporarily unfit - chest measurement deficient. Later fit - Chest measaurement now 35 inches.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 3rd Battalion, C Company
Date 5 February 1916
Transport Ulimaroa
Embarked From Wellington, N.Z. Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe, 1916
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

May 1916 - admitted to hospital.

Post-war Occupations


Date 31 May 1916 Age 20 years 360 days
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference I. B. 10. Block 46, Plot 79
New Zealand Memorials (Timaru Memorial Wall as SOLE, H.); (Waimate War Memorial as SOLE, H.)

Biographical Notes

Edward Sole was the second son of William and Emma (née Wills) Sole, of 36 Ashley Street, Rangiora. He was born on 5 June 1895 at Waimate and educated there. The family lived in the Waimate district until about 1912/1913, when the parents moved north.

Edward, or Ted as he was known, was a nephew of Richard Frank Wills. They did everything together in the war, even to being killed on the same day in the same battle.

On 15 April 1913, Edward Hole was one of many Senior Cadets summoned to appear at the Waimate Court on charges of breaches of the Defence Act. Both failure to register and failure to attend parades were the charges. Edward, a lad just 17 years old, pleaded not guilty on the grounds that he had been away at Omarama, and seems to have avoided a fine.

Edward registered for recruitment at the Defence Office in Christchurch on 13 May 1915. He had registered for compulsory military training at Waimate and was just twenty years old when he enlisted on 11 October 1915. One wonders if his uncle followed to protect the young Edward. Initially Ted was deemed unfit on account of a deficient chest measurement, but this was soon rectified – he was considered fit when his chest measured 35 inches. At this time his parents were living at Ashley Street, Rangiora, but by the time of his death his mother had moved to Gloucester Street, Christchurch, which address Ted gave. He was working at Methven, for the same employer as his uncle Frank.

Edward Sole and his uncle, Frank Wills, both with the Infantry, were among the “specials” who formed up in the barracks, “a good, sturdy lot, full of high spirits.” They left Christchurch for Trentham on 11 October 1915, after marching through the city streets, accompanied by bands playing lively march tunes. The Mayor wished them farewell - “. . . . I wish you good-bye and good luck. Your country needs you, and we feel proud that you have responded to the call, that you are prepared to risk everything: no man can do more than offer his life to the Empire.” And the spectators gave three hearty cheers. And so they departed at 7.45 p.m. for the port by a special train. How many, young and not so young, met the same fate as Edward and Frank?

Edward embarked at Wellington on 5 February 1916 per the “Ulimaroa” with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and disembarked at Suez just over five weeks later. He left Alexandria for France on 7 April. There, affected with diarrhoea like his uncle, he was admitted to hospital on 29 April before rejoining his unit a week before his death.

After just seven weeks in France and five days short of his 21st birthday, Edward was killed in action on 31 May at the Somme. His death was the result of a highly explosive shell bursting in the dug-out ten days earlier.

The Sun newspaper of 14 June 1916 reported that Ted was well known and was deservedly popular with a large circle of friends. On the same day a photo of Edward Sole appeared in the same newspaper. The Taranaki Daily News mistakenly reported that Rifleman Edward Sole of the casualty list was from the district. The newspaper promptly corrected a genuine mistake, as he was not connected to the well-known Taranaki family of the same name.

The names of Rifleman Edward Sole and Rifleman Richard Frank Wills figured in Casualty List No. 335, one of the heaviest casualty lists issued since the evacuation of Gallipoli. Edward was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which, along with the plaque and scroll, were sent to his father.

Edward Sole is remembered on the headstone of his grandfather, William Wills, in the Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch. He is buried in the Cite-Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. His name may be inscribed on the Timaru Memorial Wall (as Sole H.) and on the Waimate War Memorial (as Sole H.)


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [31 March 2015]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5553 0107547) [02 April 2015]; CWGC [31 March 2015]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [30 March 2015]; Timaru Herald, 16 April 1913, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 16 April 1913, Sun, 12 May 1915, 12 October 1915, 13 June 1916, 4 June 1916 [x 2], Waimate Daily Advertiser, 16 April 1913, Press, 14 May 1915, 12 October 1915, 14 June 1916, Evening Post, 13 June 1916, Otago Daily Times, 14 June 1916, New Zealand Herald, 14 June 1916, Ashburton Guardian, 14 June 1916, Taranaki Daily News, 14 & 15 June 1916 (Papers Past) [31 March 2015; 28 December 2015; 09 & 23 April 2016; 30 June 2016]; Linwood Cemetery headstone transcriptions (South Canterbury Branch NZSG microfiche cemetery records) [30 March 2016]; Linwood Cemetery burial record (Christchurch City Council online records) [30 March 2016]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [24 April 2016]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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