Charles RALPHS
Rank: Private
Number: 35566
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 4 February 1917
Age: 26
Cemetery: Amara War Cemetery, Iraq

At the time of the 1901 Census, the Ralphs family was living in central Manchester. Because of the comparatively unusual surname, it is possible to identify the various generations of the family. Charles' grandparents appear to have been William and Elizabeth (nee Townley) and they had married in early 1869. Their son, John, had married Rebecca Heaps during 1888 and, at the time of the Census, they had four children - Charles (10), Susannah (9), William (3) and Ernest (1).

Regimental records, published after the War, indicate that Charles was living in Stockport at the time he enlisted, although he joined up in Manchester. His service number suggest this would have been in early 1916. All of Charles' active service would have been in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).

The Regimental records also indicate Charles died of wounds he had received and Amara, where he is buried, was a centre for military hospitals at the time. It is not possible to be sure when he might have been injured although the Battalion had been in action only three days before.

On 1 February 1917, the Battalion was to the east of the city of Kut-al-Amara, near the joining of the River Hai and River Tigris. The Battalion's War Diary states that, at 5am, they moved up to a new line of trenches and assaulted the Turkish Salient at 9.49, after a heavy bombardment. They captured the Turkish front line without much difficulty and pressed on, across the Salient, to the support trenches. They worked their way along the trench system, to right and left, clearing the way with grenades. They found about 50 dead Turks and another 165 came in and surrendered. The Diary notes that "More would have come in but were taken for a counter attack and fired on by another unit". By 10.06, the Cheshires had secured their objectives and the work of consolidating the position began.

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