Charles Henry WARD
Rank: Private
Number: 42160
Date of Death: 27 May 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Soissons Memorial, Aisne , France

In the early 1880s, Isaac Ward married Emma Day at St Paul's Church, Portwood. By the time of the 1901 Census, they had 7 children of whom 1 year Charles was the youngest. The family was living at 16 Mill Lane, Bredbury and Isaac earned his living as a machine minder.The older children were Matthew (then 15), Mary (13), William (11), John (9), Walter (6) and Emily (4).

Regimental records published after the war show that Charles was living in Woodley when he enlisted and he travelled to Chester to join up. He would be killed on the first day of a major German offensive in the Champagne region of France that was later officially designated as the Third Battle of the Aisne.

The Regimental History records that, at 1am, the Germans opened an artillery bombardment on the Briish front line and supprt trenches. they used high explosive and gas shells. "A" Company was holding a section a section of the front line with "B" Company in close support in Falaise trench. "C" Company was assisting a Battalion of the Green Howards on the right and "D" Company was acting as their support. The shelling continued for some two and ahalf hours. In the chaos, it is not surprising that few details of the day's event s would be recorded but it is clear that there was then a massive German infantry attack which overwhelmed the East Yorkshires' positions.

This was about 5.45am. There was no coherent structure of command left in the Battalion and it was left to isolated parties to fight their own rearguard actions in desperate attempts to retreat to the River Aisne and to try to cross it at Maizy. Very few managed to do so.

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