Charles ORCHARDSON
Rank: Private
Number: 4178
Unit: 1/10th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 16 June 1915
Age: 29 (approx)
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Charles was born in the Longsight area of Manchester and the family later moved to live in Heaton Mersey. He had three sisters (names unknown) and two older brothers, Thomas and Alfred. Charles and Thomas had attended Christ Church School in Heaton Norris

In about 1910, he moved away from the area when he went to work as a gardener at Hawarden Castle in Flintshire. This was the home of Lt Gladstone MP (son of the former Prime Minister) who was killed in action on 13 April 1915.

Charles enlisted at Liverpool on 22 November 1914 when he gave his address as The Gardens, Hawarden Castle. He was 5' 7" tall and, not surprisingly in view of his employment, was in good physical condition. He trained in Blackpool and went overseas on 11 March 1915.

At 4pm on 15 June, the 10th Battalion (known as the Liverpool Scottish) moved from reserve to assembly positions at Railway Wood (to the east of Ypres and today the site of a Memorial to the Battalion). This would the battalion's first  time in a major action. The Regimental History notes that the men had left behind their greatcoats and packs, but carried their waterproof groundsheet on their backs. They would go into action with two bandoliers of ammunition, a day's rations and two sandbags. There was a very limited supply of grenades - the whole Battalion only having 150.

The enemy trench opposite was about 150 - 300 yards away and the King's men could see the effects of the British artillery bombardment - heads and bodies of Germans were being flung into the air by the explosions. The barrage continued for two hours until "zero hour" at 4.15am when the first wave went "over the top".

The King's were not part of this first wave which would capture the German front line trench. They would follow shortly after and carry the attack further. The men advanced as planned and reached the enemy front line without too much resistance. There were many German dead and wounded and others were too dazed to do anything but surrender. They pushed on to their own objective - Bellewaarde Farm. As they approached the farm, "V" Company met stiff resistance and they then charged the enemy trench taking about 40 prisoners. The battle then became disorganised and various British units were mixed up with each other. German resistance strengthened and, later in the day, the troops were withdrawn to the original German front line trench where they consolidated their gains. The Battalion had suffered heavily in its first action - 79 killed, 211 wounded and 109 missing from the original strength of 542.

The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 9 July, said "On June 16 last, he took part in the glorious charge made by the Liverpool Scottish at Hooge in Belgium. The Scottish on that day were out to avenge the sinking of the Lusitania and after severe fighting and bayonet work succeeded in taking four lines of German trenches. But, alas, at what a terrible cost to themselves. Out of between five and six hundred men, only 94 answered to the roll call."

After the War, Charles' father, George Orchardson was living at 59 Vicarage Road , Adswood and, later, at Poplar Bank, Ollerton, Knutsford (and is, presumably, the person responsible for ensuring Charles' name was included on the Stockport Memorial). Thomas Orchardson was at 60 Moorside Road, Heaton Mersey (and, no doubt, arranged for his brother's name to be included on the local Memorial). In 1917, Alfred Orchardson was serving with the army in India.

   
           
   
     
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