Edward was born in 1877 at 118 Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham. He was the eldest son of George and Jane Parsons and one of eight children born to the couple. His father was a chartered accountant.
By 1891, the family had moved to ‘Highfield’ on Lichjfield Road, Sutton Coldfield. In 1901, Edward was a clerk, working at the Sheffield Workhouse in West Brightside, Sheffield.
In nearby Bierlow there was a young girl working at the Eccleshall Union Workhouse as a wardsmaid. Her name was Elsie Gertrude Quiney, born in Wixford, Warwickshire in 1880. She and Edward were married in 1906.
By 1911, Edward was the master at the Runcorn Workhouse in Dutton and Elsie was the matron.
On 29 November 1915, at the age of 38, Edward enlisted in the King’s Liverpool Regiment in Frodsham, service numbers 34576 and S/294379