The action in which Edwin Serpell lost his life was during one of several conflicts that became part of the larger Battle of the Somme. It was a desperate fight for the strategically important high ground along the Pozieres Ridge, an area that was heavily defended by the Germans. The Battle of Flers-Courcelette was a large-scale general renewal of the offensive after the weeks of attritional fighting for the third German system at Pozieres, High Wood, Delville Wood, Guillemont and Ginchy. It is historically noteworthy for being the first time that tanks were used in battle and the first time that the Canadian Corps entered the Somme. The 49th suffered 63 casualties, 14 killed and 49 wounded. Edwin was one of those who died, his body was recovered and buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery, just north of Pozieres in Picardy.
As well as on our local war memorials, Edwin Serpell is commemorated on the Canadian Maple Leaf virtual war memorial. A newspaper clipping at the time mentions that he was a life-long member of the Sunday School in Venterdon. He had an ‘even temper and transparent goodness which remain as lessons in life for all the young people of his acquaintance’.