410849 38th Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force who died on 23 February 1917

Family History

Christopher Samuel Partridge was the eldest child and only son of Henry Samuel Partridge and his first wife, Florence Mary (nee Collins). Henry was born, in 1864, at Shangton, Leicestershire, where his father, Samuel, was employed as an agricultural labourer. Florence was born in Leicestershire, in 1866. Henry and Florence married in 1887 and Christopher was born, 5 February 1889, at Kirby Muxloe. At this time Henry was working as a groom for Thomas Barwell, an agricultural seed merchant. By 1891, still living in Kirby Muxloe, Henry was employed as a gardener while Florence was the postmistress. Christopher was still their only child.

However between 1892 and 1895 three daughters, Elsie, Florence and Lena were born to Henry and Florence. Sadly mother Florence died in the summer of 1896, aged thirty. The following year Henry married Thomas Barwell’s cook Alice Clark (born in 1865 at Claybrooke) at Lutterworth. The family continued to live at Kirby Muxloe where two more daughters were born, Constance in 1899 and Jesse in 1901.

By 1911, the family had moved to Regent Street, Oadby, where Christopher, Constance and Jesse were the only children still living at home. Henry must have found plenty of work as a domestic gardener in Oadby. Many of the owners of the large properties being built in Stoughton Drive South and Manor Road employed small armies of gardeners. Meanwhile Christopher was employed as a warehouseman in a boot and shoe factory.

At some point after April 1911 Christopher left Oadby to start a new life in Canada. Between 1908 and 1913 the Methodist Church was offering passages to Canada which attracted several young Oadby men. The majority of those leaving Oadby, which also included Oscar Mellowes and three men of the Mason family, worked in the boot and shoe trade so it is likely that there was an arrangement with a firm in Canada to sponsor single men with skills in footwear manufacture.

Regent Street, Oadby.

 

Military Service

On 31 May 1915 Christopher enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Ottawa. His attestation papers describe him as single, a labourer who was five feet eight and a half inches tall with light brown hair, brown eyes and a mole on his right cheek. He was confirmed as a member of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force in July 1915.

It is likely that Christopher was among those Canadian soldiers of the 38th Battalion who embarked at Montreal on    1 August 1915, aboard The Caledonian and disembarked at Bermuda on 12 August 1915. The battalion remained in Bermuda, where it undertook garrison duties and training until May 1916 when it left for England, arriving in the first half of June 1916. The King inspected the battalion at Bramshott Camp on 1 July. It may be that Christopher had an opportunity to visit his family in Oadby before the battalion sailed from Southampton for Le Havre on 13 August 1916. Two days later the men were sent by train over the border to Poperinghe, Belgium and on the evening of their arrival, half the battalion was sent to support trenches east of Ypres. They remained in this area throughout the winter of 1916.

The Regimental Colours are presented on 31 July 1915 prior to the 38th Battalion’s departure for Europe.

1915 postcard of the SS Caledonian troop ship.

A field ambulance at Vimy Ridge

In November 1916 the 38th Battalion was stationed at Albert. On Christmas Night, the troops moved northwards to Souchez where they remained until the Battle of Vimy Ridge began on 9 April 1917. In the run up to the April assault night patrols and trench raids took place, including one by 125 men on the enemy’s front line on 22 February. Private Christopher Samuel Partridge was wounded in this raid and died of his wounds in a field ambulance on 23 February 1917.

Memorials

Private Christopher Samuel Partridge is Buried with Honour at Villers-Station Military Cemetery, near Arras, France. His death was recorded in the minutes of the Oadby Urban District Council meeting. His father Henry continued to live in Oadby until he died in 1934 aged 70 years.

Villiers-Station Military Cemetery, Near Arras, France.

A clipping from the Oadby and Wigston Advertiser 17 March 1917 noting Christopher’s death