Lance Sergeant Charles Henry Elliott

200577, 2/4th Bn., Leicestershire Regiment who died on 11 April 1917

Family History

Charles Henry Elliott was born in 1880. He was the youngest son of Henry Elliott, a framework knitter and his first wife Selina (nee Robinson). Selina died shortly after Charles’ birth and in 1882 Henry married his second wife Esther Gilbert. Charles had three brothers and four step sisters.

The Elliott family attended Oadby Baptist Church and Charles was received into full membership on 8 November 1898 at the age of 17. He was baptised on 22 November 1898. Charles also played clarinet in the Oadby Adult School Orchestral Band.

In 1904 Charles married Eva Emily Wheeler. In 1911 the couple and their two children, Cyril Charles and Eva Essie, were living at Conway Villas, Spencer Street, Oadby and Charles was working as a boot machine operator.

 

The Record of Membership for Oadby Baptist Church showing Charles’ baptism and recording his death.

 

A young Charles, second left on the front row, with other  men of the Oadby Adult School C1900

 

The Oadby Adult School Orchestra. Charles is fourth from the right on the back row.

 

 

Charles’ wife Eva Emily Elliott

Military Service

Charles enlisted in the 2/4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment (Territorials) on 21 September 1914. The battalion was formed at Leicester during September 1914 and was stationed at The Magazine. The battalion became part of the 177 Brigade, 59th  (2nd North Midland) Division in August 1915. There is a memorial to the division, which comprised men from Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire in Leicester Cathedral.

 

British Soldiers in Dublin during the Easter Uprising 1916

The 2/4th Battalion was a Territorial battalion whose first responsibility was home defence and in April 1916 as part of the 59th Division it was posted to Ireland on active service following the Easter Uprising of Irish nationalist forces. Severe fighting took place and the Division’s first battle casualties were incurred.

The 2/4th Leicesters returned to England in January 1917 and were posted to France. Charles arrived in France on 24 February. In March the 59th Division was among the formations that followed up in cautious pursuit when the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line. However, the nine month tour in Ireland meant that the troops were inadequately trained in battlefield tactics when they encountered their first combat action in France.

On 1 April the 2/4th  Leicesters moved to Hervilly, a small village to the south east of Peronne.  The following day they were to attack and capture Fervaque Farm.  However, the German position was heavily wired and machine gun fire was opened up on the flanks of the Leicesters as they repeatedly attempted to cut through the wire.  At 3.30am on 3 April the battalion was ordered to withdraw.  In all probability Charles was mortally wounded in the attack and died on 11 April 1917.

Memorials

Lance Sergeant Charles Henry Elliot is Buried with Honour at Bouvincourt Communal Cemetery, France, along with five other soldiers who fell in the area.

His name appears on the Oadby War memorial and on the memorial tablet in Oadby Baptist Church honouring the men from the Adult School who died during the Great War

Lance Sergeant Charles Elliott’s grave at  Bouvincourt Communal Cemetery, France.

Clip from the Oadby and Wigston Advertiser 21 April 1917

 

Memorial Tablet honouring the men of the Oadby Adult School who fell during the war

Family Members

Charles’ widow Eva received a War Gratuity of £12 10s and Charles’ pay credits of £7 2s 11d. She died on 9 August 1920, after which their children Cyril Charles and Eva Essie Elliott went to live with their maternal grandparents in Knighton.

Portrait photographs reproduced with the kind permission of Janet Gamble.