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WW1 Heroes
08 Charles Wm. Fletcher
Private: 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment Charles William Fletcher was the eldest child of John James Hall Fletcher (1861-1934) of Avening and his wife Ellen (née Large) born 1864 in Ashley, Wiltshire. He was born on Wednesday the 9th of September 1885 in Rodmarton where his father worked as a stonemason, but the family had moved to Avening by the time he was baptised in the Holy Cross Church on Wednesday the 27th of May 1891. Also, by this time, the family were outgrowing their home on Pound Hill and Charles was living with his great aunt and uncle, Eliza and Joseph Ind at their home on Woodstock. In 1892, at the age of seven, he is mentioned in Avening School records which tells that he was raised to a higher standard because of good progress. At the time of the 1901 census, he was still living with his great aunt Eliza, by then widowed, and he was then 15 and employed as a cutter in one of the cloth mills. He married Alice Hanks, an Avening girl born in 1882 by which time he was a labourer. They had three children, Charles John (born 1911), Leslie James (born 1912) and Hilda Rose (born 1914). Charles' younger brother Frederick James was killed in action early in 1915 (see Roll of Honour Entry no. 2); it may have been this event which inspired Charles to volunteer for Kitchener's "New Army" and he joined the 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, which moved to France in August of 1915. On Saturday the 25th of September 1915, just 16 days after Charles' 30th birthday, the battalion, with other forces, was ordered to assault the German lines in what is known as the Third Battle of Artois. It was the first occasion in which the British used gas as a weapon with mixed results. Once the chlorine gas had been deployed it was, in some places, blown back onto our own lines where, because of difficulties and discomfort of use our troops were not all wearing masks and so became affected. However, the attack was launched on time at 6.30 am following an artillery bombardment, designed to weaken the enemy barbed wire defences. It turned out that this too was only partially successful. Advancing through smoke, gas and across open ground in full range of both German machine guns and artillery, the British losses were devastating and although they succeeded in capturing Loos, because of supply and reinforcement difficulties they were subsequently driven back to their starting positions by the 28th. Charles, however, was lost during the initial part of the attack but has no known grave, probably falling victim to the enemy artillery. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial which is tended by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. He was posthumously award the Victory and General Service Medals together with the 1915 Star. We have been unable to locate any direct descendants.
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08 Charles W Fletcher
Private: 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment Charles Fletcher was the eldest child of John James Hall Fletcher (1861-1934) of Avening and his wife Ellen (née Large) born 1864 in Ashley, Wiltshire. He was born on Wednesday the 9th of September 1885 in Rodmarton where his father worked as a stonemason, but the family had moved to Avening by the time he was baptised in the Holy Cross Church on Wednesday the 27th of May 1891. Also, by this time, the family were outgrowing their home on Pound Hill and Charles was living with his great aunt and uncle, Eliza and Joseph Ind at their home on Woodstock. In 1892, at the age of seven, he is mentioned in Avening School records which tells that he was raised to a higher standard because of good progress. At the time of the 1901 census, he was still living with his great aunt Eliza, by then widowed, and he was then 15 and employed as a cutter in one of the cloth mills. He married Alice Hanks, an Avening girl born in 1882 by which time he was a labourer. They had three children, Charles John (born 1911), Leslie James (born 1912) and Hilda Rose (born 1914). Charles' younger brother Frederick James was killed in action early in 1915 (see Roll of Honour Entry no. 2); it may have been this event which inspired Charles to volunteer for Kitchener's "New Army" and he joined the 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, which moved to France in August of 1915. On Saturday the 25th of September 1915, just 16 days after Charles' 30th birthday, the battalion, with other forces, was ordered to assault the German lines in what is known as the Third Battle of Artois. It was the first occasion in which the British used gas as a weapon with mixed results. Once the chlorine gas had been deployed it was, in some places, blown back onto our own lines where, because of difficulties and discomfort of use our troops were not all wearing masks and so became affected. However, the attack was launched on time at 6.30 am following an artillery bombardment, designed to weaken the enemy barbed wire defences. It turned out that this too was only partially successful. Advancing through smoke, gas and across open ground in full range of both German machine guns and artillery, the British losses were devastating and although they succeeded in capturing Loos, because of supply and reinforcement difficulties they were subsequently driven back to their starting positions by the 28th. Charles, however, was lost during the initial part of the attack but has no known grave, probably falling victim to the enemy artillery. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial which is tended by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. He was posthumously award the Victory and General Service Medals together with the 1915 Star. We have been unable to locate any direct descendants.
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