Charles Oliver BREED
Rank: Private
Number: 24181
Unit: 13th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 21 July 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Pernes British Cemetery, Pernes-en-Artois, Pas de Calais, France

The Breed family originated from Derbyshire and Oliver had been born in Chesterfield. He was always known as Oliver, no doubt to distinguish him from his father, also called Charles. Charles Breed, a miner, was married to Bertha. In 1901, they were living in North Wingfield, a small community to the south east of Chesterfield. They had three children - Frederick (then 6), Oliver (4) and Emily (2).

It is not known when the family moved to this area but it is known that Oliver worshipped at St Paul's Church in Compstall and he was a member of the local brass band. He was employed on the permanent way department of the Midland Railway Company.

Oliver enlisted into the army at Chester, probably in the early part of 1915 and will have gone overseas a few months later, after training, as part of a draft of replacements for casualties.

Regimental records, published after the War, indicate Oliver died of wounds he received and he is buried in a cemetery that was used by a field hospital (Casualty Clearing Station) at the time. Troops did not remain at a CCS for long - their condition was either stabilised sufficiently for them to be moved to permanent hospital facilities or they had died. It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that Oliver was wounded no more than a couple of days before he died. .

On 19 July, the Battalion moved into the front line. The Battalion's War Diary describes this as being the "Avelette Sector", but it has not been possible to establish where this is. "A" and "D" Companies occupied the actual front line trench, with "B" and "C" a little way to the rear in the support trench. The Diary records, for the 20th, "All work taken over and proceeded with and the usual parties organised." The next day, the Diary entry reads "Remained in front line consolidating and strengthening the position and the usual parties were provided and patrols organised."

There is no mention of any casualties, but sometime in this period, Oliver was wounded in the left side of his back and leg. These were, no doubt, injuries caused by artillery shrapnel which was a constant feature of trench life. He will have received attention just behind the front line from the Battalion's own medical officer. Then he will have been evacuated several miles to the rear to either 6th or 22nd Casualty Clearing Station at Pernes. There military surgeons will have done everything they could for him, but without success.

Charles Breed is known to have also served in the forces during the War. Frederick Breed had also served in France but, by 1918, had been invalided out after being wounded in the foot.

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, Mr & Mrs Breed were living at Beech House, Rose Brow, Marple Bridge.

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