Edmund Victor Birkett was born in 1892 and in the 1911 census is given as the elder of two of three surviving children of Kendall born Charles Birkett and his wife Grae, born in Pateley Bridge.We have several references to Edmund’s war service from the pages of the Shipley Times & Express:A former valued member of the Salvation Army who is now serving with the Colours, Pte Edmund Birkett, tells the following story illustrating the kindness of an officer in the course of a letter to Adjutant Soper of Shipley.He says he was formed up along with some 200 other men when the officer came round and asked each man what his particular religion was.On the question being put to Birkett, he promptly answered, “I belong to the Salvation Army,” whereupon there was a titter all along the line.
The Commanding Officer seemingly took no notice of this but later approaching Birkett, kindly questioned him with respect to the Salvation Army and learning that he had played in the band for a considerable number of years, he mentioned the fact that there was on foot a proposal to form a military band and invited Birkett to become a member. This he was, of course, delighted to do.25 February 1916With Salvation Army rites the funeral took place at Nab Wood Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon of Bandsman Edmund Birkett of 43 Alexander Road, Shipley, who died at the age of 26.He had been with the Colours but was discharged owing to ill-health and he became a member of the Discharged Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Association.He was a bandsman in the Shipley Corps of the Salvation Army and his father, Mr Charles Birkett, is a band sergeant.
Adjt Ruud conducted the service at the Citadel and the grave. The cortege also included bandsmen from the Shipley, Leeds, Bradford and Idle Corps and the Songsters of the local corps in white sashes.On the way to the cemetery the bandsmen played the Dead Marchin Saul; at the Citadel Servant of God, well done; and at the grave, Rock of Ages.At the service in the citadel, Adjts Soper and Lyndon of Leeds and Morley, and formerly of Shipley, gave addresses and the Songsters sang When the roll is called up yonder.A dozen of the boys the deceased had been training along with about 20 others to become a boys’ band for the Shipley corps, sang two verses of Jesu lover of my soul at the graveside.The public wreaths included one from the deceased’s workmates at Webster’s, Windhill.9 August 1918
A memorial service to the late Bandsman Edmund Birkett of 43 Alexandra Road, Shipley, who was discharged from the colours owing to ill health, was held on Sunday night at the Salvation Army Citadel.He was a popular member of the band of the local corps and the service, which was conducted by Adjt Ruud, was very impressive.It was preceded by a slow band march from the Market Place. Adjt Tuffin, of Wakefield, who knew the deceased several years ago, came over to testify to his qualities and he mentioned that Bandsman Birkett had taught his son, now a wounded soldier, to play an instrument.The deceased’s sister, who is a Salvation Army captain near Doncaster, said her brother had led a consistently good life.Kathie Ruud sand the solo, He died at his post.16 August 1918