Charles

GREGORY

1896 - 1918

Early Life

CHARLES GREGORY is one of only two soldiers named on the Great Waltham War Memorial who were not born in Essex. He was born in 1896 in Southampton, Hampshire, the youngest son of George and Margaret Jane Gregory (née Wallis). His parents were married in 1884 in Southampton. His father was born in Downton, Wiltshire and his mother came originally from St Erth in South Cornwall.

 

Charles was the youngest of six children, all born in Southampton. His elder siblings were William George, b. 1884, Edwin John, b.1886, Alice, the only daughter, b.1888, Henry, b. October 1890 and James Joseph b. 4 July 1893.  

In the 1901 Census the family were living at 30 French Street, Southampton. His father was employed as a Butchers Assistant, his elder brother Edwin, a ‘scurfer’, cleaning ships boilers. (A Scurfer removes ‘scale’ (incrusted deposit) from inner surface of boilers and from boiler tubes.)

In 1911 the Census has Charles as a Boarder at 69 French Street, aged 15 years, employed as a Newsboy. The head of the household, Reginald Matthews was a labourer and fitter at the Electric Light Station and there were twelve inhabitants in the home. His brother James was in the Royal Navy and stationed at Harwich.

Military Life

Charles probably enlisted as a Private, Regimental No. 18432 around the middle of 1915 and enlisted in the 11th (Pioneer) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.

The 11th Pioneer Battalion, Hampshire Regiment was formed at Winchester in September 1914 as part of K2 and moved to Dublin, attached as Army Troops to 16th (Irish) Division. The Regiment moved to Mullingar in September and became Pioneers to the Division in December 1914. The Regiment moved to Kilworth in March 1915 and on to Aldershot in September 1915. Charles landed at Le Havre on the 19th December 1915.By 2 May 1918 the Regiment was reduced to cadre strength and returned to England on 18 June 1918 and moved to Lowestoft.

Death and Memorial

At some point, Charles transferred to the 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment and then on to the 2nd Battalion when he was killed in action on the 15th June 1918.On this day the Battalion was at Souastre, Pas de Calais, having relieved the 2/7th Duke of Wellington Regiment as support Battalion in the right Brigade sector.

Charles was buried in the Cinq Rues British Cemetery at Hazebrouck, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Plot G. Row 25.

PRIVATE CHARLES GREGORY’S GRAVE

Charles is also remembered on the War Memorial in Great Waltham.

UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929

 

Margaret, his mother was his next of kin and she received a Gratuity of £4.10s.6d on the 13th November 1918 with a further payment of £12 received on the 6th December 1919. His brothers, William and James and sister Alice (now Rickman) received a similar amount on the 13th November 1918 and further Gratuity payments were made to his brothers Henry and Edwin on the 29th November 1919 and 4th March 1919 respectively.

Charles was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal and the 1915 Star. However, Charles was convicted of desertion, but the medals were restored in 1921, following an enquiry from the Officer in Charge of Records Exeter, regarding the forfeiture of medals and the sentence was remitted on the 12th July 1920.

MEDAL CARD CHARLES GREGORY

 

Charles’ sister Alice married Arthur Chisman Rickman, employed as a Turner, on the 10 August 1910 in Southampton. They eventually moved to Great Waltham and were living at The White House, in South Street with their children by 1915 and their son, James Edward Chisman was baptised on the 17th December 1915 at St Mary & St Lawrence Parish Church. Arthur, who had done Naval Service prior to WW1, re-enlisted in the 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment and served as a Private in the Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport as a Fitter and Turner, until he was demobilized on the 27 July 1919.

 

In the absence of close family and his ‘conviction of desertion’, it is possible that Alice may have requested that her younger brother, Charles’ name be included in the local Roll of those who died, on the War Memorial when it was unveiled on the 1st December 1920. This was prior to his medals being reinstated in 1921. There is no record that Charles is remembered on any War Memorial in Hampshire.