Charles HOLEBROOKE
Rank: Private
Number: 59467
Unit: A Company, 14th Battalion WELSH REGIMENT
Date of Death: 23 August 1917
Age: 38
Cemetery: Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium

Charles had been born in Hazel Grove, the son of Allan and Anne of School Street. The family worshipped at nearby Norbury Church. In adult life, he was a skilled tradesman, working as a plasterer as did most of his male relatives. When War was declared, in August 1914, there are indications in his service record that he tried to enlist but was probably rejected as being too old at the time.

However, on 12 December 1915, he tried again and was accepted. A few months before this, on 7 August, he married Mary Jane Bailey at Stockport Congregational Church. She was widow and had possibly lost her first husband in the early fighting. The Church was, presumably, not licensed for marriages as the couple also had to have a civil ceremony which is registered at Stockport. They would live at 355 London Road, Hazel Grove.

Charles spent the next eighteen months in the UK attached to one of the labour battalions of the Cheshire Regiment and was not posted overseas to join the 14th Battalion until 12 June 1917. His service file shows him to have been a short man, even for those days, standing at just over 5' 4" tall and, in spite of marriage at a Congregational Church, he had listed his denomination as Anglican.  

There are scant details of the days preceding his death. The Third Battle of Ypres had started 31 July and the attack was only moving forward very slowly. On 18 August, the Battalion moved from reserve to take up positions in the support line of trenches near the village of Langemarck. They were there for two days and, on the 20th, moved forward again to take over a sector of the front line. They stayed there until the 22nd.  It is almost certain that, sometime over these days, Charles will have been badly wounded by enemy shellfire. He will have been evacuated away from the battlefield and died at 47th Casualty Clearing Station - an army field hospital at Poperinge, near Ypres (now Ieper).

Charles' records show that he had three brothers and two sisters. The younger brother Edwin, also served in the army but had been discharged by 1917. Another brother, Allan, would be killed on 26 October 1917. Their uncle, Reginald, would die the following year.

Further information about Charles can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

   
           
   
     
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