Re­mem­ber­ing a First World War sol­dier

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - LETTERS -

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

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