Charles Peter DYKES
Rank: Private
Number: 50575
Unit: 1st Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 6 June 1918
Age: 23
Cemetery: Tannay British Cemetery, Thienne, France

There is some confusion over the spelling of Charles' last name. The war memorial and the local newspaper record it as Dyke, but official records, including the 1901 Census, have it as Dykes and must be presumed to be correct. The Census shows that Charles had been born in Rochdale and was still living there, aged 5

Whatever the correct spelling of his name, he was the son of a Mrs Axon, 26 School Street, Cheadle Heath.  Charles worked at the Brinksway Dye Works. He is believed to have been a junior football coach in his spare time.

In 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal. This was confirmed in the edition of the London Gazette dated 21 August. Details of his act of bravery are not recorded in the Battalion's War Diary but it is likely to have been undertaken during the fighting around Arras in April and May.

In December 1917, the Battalion saw service in Italy, but returned to France in April 1918, after the massive German attack of late March. At about 8pm on 4 June, Charles and his comrades arrived at Arcade Camp in northern France in reserve. The next day was spent cleaning up the camp and a quarter of each Company was given passes to go into nearby Steenbecque.

The following day, the Battalion undertook Company training exercises. Passes were again given for troops to go into Steenbecque. Unfortunately for Charles, he was not one to receive a pass that afternoon. About 3pm, the camp was shelled by the enemy. He and four other soldiers were killed. They are buried next to each other.

(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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