Edward (Ted) Basnett

Ted Basnett

Ted was born in 39 Cavendish street, Runcorn on 31 March 1891 and was one of seven children. His father, James, had been born in Runcorn in late 1850 and in November 1872 had married Emma Lightfoot in Burtonwood, near Warrington. James was an engine driver at the time, having previously worked as a grocer’s messenger and a labourer in a chemical works.

In 1901, the family was at the same address and Ted was at school at Shaw Street, Runcorn.

He left Runcorn aged sixteen and went to lodge with the Potts family at Cotton’s Bridge, Preston Brook and worked as a warehouseman for the Bridgewater Canal Company at Norton. By 1911 he was working as a horseman for the company.

Ted was a keen sportsman and played both Rugby League for Runcorn RL Club and football for Runcorn FC. In the 1909-1910 season he played with Tom Potts for Aston Hall Reserve AFC along with several other lads from the village.

Ted enlisted at Frodsham on 18 November 1914 as a private in the 8th Battalion (B Company) of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment (service number 15959). Others enlisting at the same time were Tom Spender (15947), Charles Frankland (15949) and John Jameson (15948).

His initial training was at Aldershot and using his knowledge of horses he was allocated to the Transport Section.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal in 1915 and whilst on leave, Ted married Bertha Jones (daughter of Thomas Henry Jones of Rose Cottage) on 18 September. The wedding took place at Greenway Road Primitive Methodist Church in Runcorn.

Only nine days later, he was posted to France to begin his active service. He was promoted to Sergeant in January 1916 after a training course at Albertville in France.

Ted Basnett MM

During the Battle of the Somme, whilst his battalion was attacking Delville Wood, Ted won the Military Medal for ‘conspicuous devotion to duty’ on 18 July 1916.

Soon after this, Ted suffered from a serious bout of trench fever and was invalided to England to recuperate in Berkshire.

Ted did not return to the front and became the permanent orderly sergeant at Knowsley Park.

His Miliatary Medal was presented by Field Marshall Viscount French at Exchange Flags, Liverpool in September 1917.

The 1918 electoral roll shows that Ted was still on military service and it wasn’t until 14 February 1919 that he was transferred to Class Z army reserve, which meant that he had been discharged from the service.

Ted and Bertha went on to have four children – Eddie (who died when he was three years old), Ester, Jessie and Eric. The family lived at Rose Cottage with Bertha’s parents until 1927, when they moved to Chester Road, Sutton Weaver. Ted worked as a water engineer for Runcorn RDC.

The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-serviceman that had been established after the war. The first Poppy Appeal took place on 11 November 1921. Ted was a founder member of the Halton branch of the British Legion and organised Poppy Day collections and collected money for the Hospital Fund and also for district nurses.

Ted also played in the Preston Brook Band with his old friend Tom Potts and his father-in-law. From 1931 until 1939, Ted was a lay preacher on the local Methodist circuit.

Shortly before he died at home on 13 June 1968, Ted was awarded one of the highest awards in the British Legion, the Gold Badge.