Edward James Henry Spratt was born on the 30th August 1845 at Pieta, Malta, the son of Vice-Admiral Thomas Abel Bremage Spratt, R.N. and his wife Sophia Dean.
Edward's grandfather was the Commander James Spratt, R.N. who gained fame for his exploits at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, at the time a Master's Mate on HMS Defiance.
Edward purchased a commission in to the 29th Foot with the rank of Ensign, on the 3rd March 1865.
He was promoted to rank of Lieutenant on the 12th December 1868. On the 22nd June 1870 he was made Adjutant of the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment a position he held until promoted in 1878.
He was promoted to rank of Captain on the 31st August 1878.
In February 1879 he was seconded for special service at the Cape of Good Hope.
He served as Sub-Director of Transport throughout the Zulu War of 1879, and was present with the 2nd Division in the engagement at Ulundi. He also served in the operations against Sekukuni in 1879, and was present as Orderly Officer to Colonel Russel, who was commanding the troops at the storming of the stronghold. He was mentioned in despatches and given the rank of Brevet Major (London Gazette 24th July 1880).
Edward served in the First Anglo-Boer War of 1881 as a Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quarter Master General.
On the 19th May 1886 he was promoted to Major.
On the 2nd March 1891 he was promoted to Lieut.-Colonel and was given command of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, which he commanded for 4 years and then went on to half-pay on the 2nd March 1895 and was given the rank of Brevet Colonel.