Charles BOWER(S)
Rank: Private
Number: 40553
Date of Death: 3 October 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Willow Grove Cemetery, Stockport

All official records indicate that Charles' surname was Bower. Reporting his death, the local newspaper spelt it as Bowers and this was possibly the source for the similar spelling of his name on the Stockport War Memorial.

His parents, Charles Bower and Mary Ellen Hughes had married in late 1893 at St Thomas' Church, Hazel Grove. Their first child, Henry, was born the following year. Charles followed in about 1897 and Elsie two years later. Their father died in 1900, aged 33 and he may not have lived to see the birth of his youngest child, Jessie, who was only 10 months old in the spring of 1901. At that time, the family was living at 13 Beard Street in the Lancashire Hill area of Stockport (later moving to 109 Old Road, Heaton Norris).

Until he enlisted into the army Charles had worked for Johnson's Ltd at Park Mills. When he joined up, he was assigned to the Monmouthshire Regiment (service number) and went overseas with them. At some point he was transferred to the Worcesters. He took part in the fighting at Ypres (now Ieper) in the summer and autumn of 1917 and was badly wounded in the leg. It was necessary for military surgeons to amputate it and, as soon as he was strong enough, he was evacuated back to the UK  and admitted to Netley Military Hospital where he died.

Charles' body was brought back to Stockport for burial. This would have been at the family's expense - the army would only pay for a burial in the UK, close to where a man died. On 8 October, there was a service for him at All Saints Church. His body was then taken to Willow Grove where it was buried with full military honours. The coffin was draped with a Union Jack; a bugler sounded the Last Post and a party of soldiers fired a volley over the grave.

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