Edward Bracking was born June 1891 at Swapcote Lane, Long Sutton, near Spalding in Lincolnshire. He was the youngest of five children of Louisa and George Bracking, a builder and contractor. By the age of nineteen, in 1911, Edward was working as a school teacher in a County Council school. Teaching was clearly a family affair: in 1901 Edward’s eldest sister, Ethel, was an Assistant Mistress in a Board School, and Lucy, another sister five years her junior, aged thirteen, was a monitress probably in the same school. By 1911 Lucy was teaching in a County Council non-provided school.
Edward entered Bede College in 1915 as one of 33 students from St Peter’s College in Peterborough who were transferred to Durham under a concentration scheme: a further 10 students were transferred from Winchester Training College. Even with this rationalisation, student numbers continued to rapidly reduce due to enlistment. Bracking himself did not complete his first year, and enlisted at Wisbech near his home, and joined the London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles) 1/15th Battalion. This unit became part of the 140th Brigade in the 47th (2nd London) Division, and which in November 1915 moved to Flanders. It remained there for almost a year, and fought in the Battles of Messines and Passchendaele.
In January 1917 the 47th Division was at Hill 60 in the Ypres Salient in a front line defensive role and under heavy bombardment from enemy artillery. Edward Bracking was killed on 12 January 1917, aged 25, and has no known grave. He was one of three killed and one missing soldiers in his unit that day. His sacrifice is therefore commemorated on the Menin Gate. He is also remembered on the war memorials at Long Sutton, and, inside the church of St Mary there, on a family plaque inscribed, “He gave his life that we Englishmen might live”. His name is also listed on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour. He left a widow, Mabel A. née Foster: they had married in March 1916 at Holbeach, a neighbouring village to his own in Lincolnshire.