Aicken, Edward (served as Ekien, Edward)
No. 8289, 8th Battalion, Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers)
Killed in action on Wednesday 6 September 1916 (aged 29)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Conlig Presbyterian Church
Conlig Orange Hall
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Private Edward Ekien (No 8289) was born in Newtownards, lived in Conlig and enlisted in Belfast.
In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website it is recorded that Private Edward Ekien (No 8289) was a son of Mrs Isabella Ladlow and the husband of Sarah Ekien of Conlig.
Edward Aicken was born on 1 August 1886 in Newtownards Workhouse and he was a son of Isabella Aicken. Isabella (Bella) was a daughter of William Aicken, a labourer from Granshaw, Bangor.
Isabella Aicken and Richard Laidlaw were married on 23 October 1890 in Newtownards Registry Office. Richard Laidlaw, a labourer from Granshaw, Bangor was a son of William Laidlaw, a dealer.
In different records there are at least seven variations in the spelling of Isabella’s maiden surname: Aicken, Aiken, Acken, Ackien, Aichen, Eiken and Ekien.
In different records there are at least eight variations in the spelling of Richard’s surname: Laidlaw, Leadlie, Leadley, Leddley, Ledlie, Ledley, Ladley and Ladlow.
Isabella had eight children:
Edward (born 1 August 1886 in Newtownards Workhouse)
William (born 21 March 1892 in Whitespots)
Ann Jane (born 4 March 1894 in Whitespots; died 26 June 1917)
Margaret (born 4 November 1896 in Conlig)
Elizabeth (born 28 February 1898 in Conlig; died 20 August 1898)
Isabella (born 15 March 1899 in Conlig)
Mary (born 29 September 1901 in Conlig)
James (born 16 December 1906 in Conlig)
In 1901 Edward Aicken aged 15 was working as a farm servant for John and Mary Kennedy who farmed in the townland of Lisnabreeny, Moneyreagh.
Edward Aicken and Sarah Dalzell (aged 16) were married on 18 December 1912 in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church. Edward Aicken, a labourer from Conlig declared that he was a son of Richard Aicken, a labourer. Sarah Dalzell from Conlig was a daughter of Samuel Dalzell, a labourer.
Edward and Sarah Aicken (nee Dalzell) had at least three children:
Samuel (born 26 January 1913)
Edward (born 4 April 1914; died of whooping cough 8 April 1915 in Conlig)
Edward (born 25 July 1916 in Conlig)
Edward Aicken (Ekien) was a career soldier and during the First World War he served with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in 49th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division. He landed in France on 19 December 1914. Private Edward Aicken (Ekien) was 30 when he was killed in action in the front line on 6 September 1916 during the action at Guillemont.
It was reported in the Newtownards Chronicle in October 1916 that Private Edward Ekien was missing in action and in November 1916 it was reported that he must be presumed to have been killed. He has no known grave.
Four years after Edward was killed, his widow Sarah married Andrew McGimpsey (a van driver and a widower) on 7 April 1920 in Conlig Presbyterian Church.
Edward’s mother, Isabella, died on 31 August 1933 (aged 69) and she was buried alongside her daughter, Ann Jane, in Bangor Cemetery (Grave 5S 143). Edward’s stepfather, Richard Ladley, died on 8 December 1955 (aged 90) and he was buried in the same grave.
Private Edward Aicken (Ekien) is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum; in Conlig Orange Hall and in Conlig Presbyterian Church.