© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
32 Charles Nurding
Private: Royal Marine Light Infantry
"Ships (or Marines) That Pass in the Night". So it could be said for two Avening men in the early part of
the 20th Century. Regular readers will recall a report on Augustus Clapton (Roll of Honour No. 30) who
died in 1918. He was born some five years before Charles and they would have been at school in the
village at the same time. Gus left school around 1903 and became a baker on Point Road, Avening.
Charles left school in 1908 and worked as a carder at Longford's Mill.
Charles married Sarah Anderton in 1914 and they had a child, Charles, almost immediately after their
marriage. Another son, William, was born late in 1916. Despite these responsibilities, Charles Senior
volunteered for military service and was taken into the Royal Marines at Plymouth on the 14th of
November 1916 and completed his training there. Meanwhile, Augustus Clapton was conscripted on the
17th of April 1917 and joined the Royal Marines at Chatham.
On the 30th of that month, Charles left for France and was posted to the 1st Marine Battalion on the 20th
of May 1917. In July 1917, Charles was injured on the Front having been buried by an incoming shell,
receiving a wound to his arm which required medical attention in England. Having completed his training,
Augustus left for France in August 1917 and joined the same battalion in September. In March 1918 he
was reported as "missing" but later as "a Prisoner of War". Charles was declared fit again and was
returned to France in May 1918. Augustus died as a POW in July of that year. By this time, the Germans
were in retreat across France and Belgium but they put up a fight in that retreat, still managing to cause
many casualties during their flight. The marines formed part of the 63rd Division fighting in the Second
Battles of the Somme, and it was in those battles that Charles was killed. He was one of forty of his
battalion who lost their lives that day, with another thirty or so during the previous week.
During their service lives, Augustus and Charles never met although they shared that same battalion.
Charles was one of five children born to Charles Nurding and his wife Elizabeth (née Humphries). They
had married in Avening on the 13th of December 1890, when the groom is said in the Parish Register to
have been "a soldier". In the 1901 census his occupation is described as "shepherd" and his birthplace
as Kemble. He died in 1909 when Charles Jnr was 16.
Our Charles is buried at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. His two medals (the Victory Medal
and the British Medal) would have been sent to his wife. To date we have been unable to locate any
descendants or relatives.