Son of Mr Lionel C. R. Thring, M.A. J.P. First Headmaster of Dunstable Grammar School, and Mrs Jessie Margaret Thring. Edward was born in Dunstable, as were his sisters Marion and Elsie Thring; he was a keen and capable sportsmen and an old pupil of Dunstable Grammar. He won the Hankey Gold Medal for being the pupil who had made best use of his opportunities in life as a Dunstabolian.
Edward joined the Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.) at Berkhampsted, and soon after recieved his commision into the North Midland Royal Field Artillery (R.F.A.).
The 1918 Flu Pandemic, often know as the Spanish Flu, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic that swept the world between January 1918 and December 1920. This was the first of the two known pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the second being the 2009 flu pandemic).