Charles OLDHAM
Rank: Private
Number: 55364
Unit: B Company, 14th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 26 December 1918
Age: 42
Cemetery: Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais

Charles was born in Hazel Grove, the son of James and Sarah Ann and, as far as is known, lived all his life there until he enlisted into the army. His service number confirms that he enlisted into the army in late 1915 or early 1916. In that latter year, he married Martha Ann Perry at Hazel Grove Congregational Church and they are thought to have set up home at Hazel Street. It is probable that they did not have long together before Charles went overseas on active service.

He died, some 6 weeks after the end of the War, at a military hospital on the Channel coast from wounds he had received in action. The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 11 October 1918, reported that he was in hospital and John Eaton in his book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" indicates that Charles received his injuries on 18 September. If this is the case, then Charles received his wounds during an attack at Gouzecourt.

The Fusiliers attacked on a wide three company frontage with "A", "B" and "D" leading the way and "C" in support. "B" Company was held up by an enemy machine gun in African Trench but the men of the other two reached their objectives. In the evening, the Germans counterattacked driving back the Tommies.

Without further information it is not known if this was when Charles was wounded and it may also have been on 5 October. On this day, the British advance was continuing until it met with pockets of resistance from the Germans who held up the Fusiliers with machine gun fire, causing casualties.

Whenever it was, Charles will have received treatment from the Battalion's own medical officer just behind the front line. He will then have been evacuated to a field hospital (casualty clearing station) some miles behind the front line. There, military surgeons will have stabilised his condition allowing a further evacuation to a base hospital on the coast. In the normal course of events, wounded soldiers would have been sent back to "Blighty" as soon as possible but Charles was never fit enough to travel. It is probable that there was never much hope for him.

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Martha had moved to 30 Gladstone Street, Stockport.

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