Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Charles Henry Cawthorne 1881-1917

Charles Henry Cawthorne Barnsley Chronicle 2 June 1917
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

Q1 1881 in Barnsley (9c 172)

Son of:
William Cawthorne b.1861 Barnsley d.1886 buried St Thomas Worsbro' Dale

1881:  Coal Miner, 40 Winn Street, Barnsley
married at St John's Church, Barebones, Barnsley on 26 July 1880 to
Ann (nee Wroe) b.1861 Worsbro' Common, Barnsley d.1927 buried Barnsley Cemetery

She remarries 30 September 1888 at St George's Church, Barnsley to Mathew Linley.

Position in family: The eldest of 4 full siblings and 4 half siblings
1. Charles Henry Cawthorne b.1881 d.1917 WW1 KILLED

2. Mary A Cawthorne b.1882
3. Eliza Cawthorne b.1884
4. Florence Cawthorne b.1885
5. Harry Linley b.1890
6. Marion Linley b.1891
7. Walter Linley b.1893 m.1914 to Julia Crisp at St Thomas' Church Worsbro' Dale
8. Horace Linley b.1899

Home address, age and occupation:
1881: 40 Winn Street, Barnsley age 3 months

1891: 11 Crook Street, Barnsley age 10 (living with his maternal grandmother)
1901: *missing*
1911: 215 Dearne Street, South Elmsall, age 30 Coal Miner Hewer
1915: 14 Peel Street, Worsbro' Common Coal Miner


He married to Ellen Maher (b.1890 Bedford Lee, Lancashire d.1943 Hemsworth Reg District) in Q1 1908 in Barnsley Reg District (9c 316)

Children: Two born to marriage before 1911, one dies before census; three children mentioned in 1917 newspaper cutting.
1. *died young*

2. Walter Cawthorne b.Oct 1910
3. William Cawthorne b.Sep 1914
4. *???*
Military Service:
Enlisted: March 1915 at the age of 34 years
Regiment and Battalion:    14th York & Lancaster Regiment (2nd Barnsley Pals)
Service number and rank:  14/787 Corporal (sometimes Sergeant)
Awards: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Death:     7 May 1917 aged 36
CWGC Remembered:  Arras Memorial Bay 8

Worsborough Common, St Lukes Church, Highstone Road
Lives of the First World War


Charles' father William dies when he is five years old.  His mother remarries within two years to Matthew Linley. This may be why Charles is living with his grandmother Mary Wroe in the 1891 census.  

He is missing in the 1901 census and evidence from a newspaper cutting in the Barnsley Chronicle in 1916 suggests he was a regular soldier and served in the Boer War.  No evidence has been found to support this theory as yet, however there is a possibility he enlisted under an assumed name or maybe a name spelt slightly differently.

"... before I re-enlisted in this battalion, I was in one of the finest Regular regiments in the British army.  I fought side by side in India and on the frontier with men who feared nothing.  I was in some famous battles - such as Belmont, Modder River, Magersfontein, and others in South Africa, and I have seen troops in action in the British style; but I have never seen a more combined lot of dare devils than our own Barnsley battalions.  They are the finest soldiers I have ever been associated with."  Barnsley Chronicle 15 July 1916 

Charles is referred to throughout this piece and the one that announces his death in 1917 as a Sergeant, however his official records, his medal card and Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry refer to him as a Corporal, so his higher rank may have been temporary or an acting promotion.

He marries Ellen Maher in Barnsley in 1908, but in 1911 they are living in South Elmsall where his son Walter is born.  Another child is noted to have died between birth and 1911.  The 1917 newspaper cutting refers to "a wife and 3 children" - the name of his third surviving child is not yet known.

Barnsley Chronicle 26 May 1917
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

"On May 7th Sergeant C.H. Cawthorne. Y and L, fell in action at the age of 36 years and he leaves a wife and 3 children who reside at 14, Peel Street, Worsbro' Common.  Before he enlisted in March 1915, the Sergeant worked at Round Green Colliery.  Captain W.C. Hankinson writes to the bereaved widow under date May 12th: - "Dear Mrs Cawthorne, It is my painful duty to have to inform you that Sergeant Cawthorne was killed in action on the 7th of this month.  He was at his post in one of the most dangerous parts of the whole British line, at a place where some of the fiercest fighting has taken place, and he was spared all suffering, being killed instantaneously.  He had only just come to my Company, but I have known him since the old days in England, and I feel we have lost a very brave and gallant soldier.  Let me assure you that the sympathy of the officers and men of his Company is with you at this time of trial and bereavement, and I pray that God in his good mercy will give you the strength to bear the burden He has put upon you."  Sergeant W. Bowen wrote: "I was further along the trench when I heard a shell burst.  I immediately ran to assist your husband, but he was beyond aid.  We of the platoon all sympathise with you in your sad bereavement.  Your husband was liked by all, and we have erected a cross on his grave, the exact position of which as been reported.  It will be one consolation to you to know that he died fighting for righteousness."  A further letter of sympathy has also been received from Second-Lieut Frank Baker."  Barnsley Chronicle 26 May 1917

This piece mentions a grave - however Charles Cawthorne has no known resting place and is remembered on the Arras Memorial.  He may have been buried by his comrades and his grave lost in subsequent movements of the battles across the same stretch of land.  However he may not have been buried at all if he was blown to pieces by the shell referred to by Sergeant Bowen who mentions a cross and grave just to be kind to the widow.

Ellen Cawthorne remarries in 1918 to Albert R Treacy.  She dies as Ellen Treacy in 1943.  There do not seem to be any children to this, her second, marriage.

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