Remembering a First World War soldier
I have just returned from a very emotional battlefield tour of Cambrai. My main objective was to visit the grave of my great uncle Lance Sergeant Charles Stevens, 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, who is buried in the Moeuvres Communal Cemetery Extension.
Charles received the Military Medal in 1916 for holding out against repeated German attacks after his six men had been bowled over.
There is also a mention in the newspaper reports that Charles received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, but I can’t find any record of this.
Charles was killed on 29 November 1917 at the battle for Bourlon Wood – I believe he was at the sugar factory near Bourlon Wood, and on that day there was heavy artillery shelling.
Charles also had a brother Frederick who was injured and sent home in November 1914. He wrote
the following letter: “My upper jaw has been broken and my left eye useless. I have been in this hospital since November 22, and progressing as well as can be expected. The hospital authorities cared for us very well this Christmas. The people of Nottingham are very good indeed to all the wounded here.”
Unfortunately Frederick’s wounds became infected and he died on 12 January 1915. He was buried at All Saints’ Church Maidenhead with full military honours.
I like to think that my grandmother would be pleased that I paid my respects to both brothers’ sacrifice. Marion Burton
Editor replies: I’m sure that your grandmother would have been delighted Marion.
Marion visited Charles Stevens’s grave in Cambrai