William Hardcastle, a dyer, was born in Lindley in 1863 and married Florence Marsland, a winder, who was from Cheshire but whose family were living in Lindley, in St. Stephen's church on 28 May 1892.
The couple first lived at 19 Croft House, Lindley, where Albert Edmund was born on 18 December 1892. He was baptised in St. Stephen's 21 May 1893. On the same occasion Harry Marsland, born January 1890, was also baptised. Only his mother, Florence, is named: Edmund had a half-brother.
By 1901 the couple were living at 6 Temple Street in the heart of the village, a tiny house with only three rooms that still stands, and had three children
Harry Marsland did not live with his mother after her marriage to William but lived with his uncle Jene Marsland; when he married in St. Stephen's in 1913 — a ceremony witnessed by Edmund - he recorded no father's name but that of his uncle, which was crossed out by the vicar, E Osborne Williams. All this serves to suggests that William was not Harry's father.
In addition to Albert Edmund, the Hardcastles had two other children in Temple Street: Robert William, born in 1894, and Frank who was born in 1898. Like Edmund, both were baptised in St. Stephen's. Edmund — and probably the other children — attended the Church School on Holly Bank Road, just across Lidget Street from Temple Street.
William died in the spring of 1906 at the age of only forty-four. Edmund may have just left school but any wage he may have earned could not have done much to make life easier for Florence who also had an eleven-year-old and another of only seven to raise. As a widow she would have had to apply for assistance under the Poor Law.
By 1911 Florence had returned to work — as a burler. The family had moved to South Lane, Elland. Edmund worked as a warehouseman at Smith Calverley on Plover Road, Lindley, and Robert as a cotton trimmer. Frank, aged only twelve, was still at school.
Edmund's father, his grandfather and three uncles had all served in the army, so it is not surprising that in 1912 he enlisted in the Territorial Force of the West Riding Regiment. At his medical on 18 April he was described as 5' 4½" tall, with a chest measurement of 34" expanding over a 2" range, with good vision and "fit for the Force". He must have enjoyed the military life as sampled with weekly drills and annual camps because 16 January 1913 he left the Force in order to enlist in the Regular Army, eventually joining the 1st Battalion, Scottish Rifles, the Cameronians.
On the declaration of war, the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France. The Cameronians left Glasgow on 13 August and sailed the following day from Southampton on the SS Caledonian, landing in Le Havre on 15 August.
The battalion fought at the Battle of Mons, 23 August, in the failed attempt to halt the German advance. It was here that Edmund was wounded on 26 August and was eventually brought back to England where he died at the General Hospital, Edgbaston, in Birmingham on 27 September 1914. We can only hope that Florence was able to see him before he died. He had been a soldier for only twenty months.
Edmund's body was returned to Yorkshire for burial. At the funeral in St. Stephen's a large crowd turned out to witness what was one of the earliest local war funerals. The local military were well represented. A United Methodist service had earlier been held at the family home, 2 Southfield Terrace, Elland. Among the tributes was a wreath from the Southgate Young Men's Institute of which Edmund was a member, and another from his former workmates at Plover Mills.
Edmund is remembered in St. Stephen's and on the memorial in Hullenedge Park, Elland.
The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield: