Topic: Charles Leonard Watson

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A soldier of the Great War killed in action during the disastrous attack at Passchendaele.

Private Charles Leonard Watson - 44044                          

Watson, C.L.

Charles was born at West Melton on 5th August 1890, son of George and Charlotte Watson, of Sandy Knolls. He received his education at the local and West Christchurch Schools. He listed his occupation as farmer and his last employer was his father.  He was 5ft 8½in tall with dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

Charles enlisted at Christchurch 13th December 1916 although his service dates from 5th January 1917. He had been called up in the first ballot under the Military Service Act in November 1916. For Charles this was a happy outcome for he had previously enlisted four times and been rejected for service due to his eyesight. Now the military were short of recruits. He was assigned to the 23rd Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company. He embarked with them on board the Corinthic, departing on 2nd April 1917. At some stage before departing he was charged with “sleeping at his post whilst a sentinel”. On 11th April, whilst they were at sea, a “field general court marshall’ was called. Charles pled not guilty but was found guilty although the officer noted his character was good. He was sentenced to seven days detention, 11th to 17 April inclusive. Charles arrived in England on 10th June 1917 and marched into camp at Sling. He left for France on 6th July1917 marching into Base Depot at Etaples on 9th July. From there he joined the 2nd Battalion in the field on 25th July. He was killed in action on 12th October 1917 during the disastrous attack at Passchendaele on 10th October, aged 27. His burial at Passchendaele was reported by Rev Lush, who was attached to the 2nd Battalion.  After the war his body was reinterred in the Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Ypres, plot VIIA. C. 10. In New Zealand Charles is remembered on the West Melton Roll of Honour. 

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Charles Leonard Watson


First Names:Charles Leonard
Last Name:Watson
Date of Birth:5th August 1890
Place of Birth:West Melton
Date of Death:12 October 1917
Place of Death:Passchendaele, Belgium
Memorial or Cemetery:Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Belgium
Age at death:27
User Name:Selwyn Library
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:57/13
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Enlistment details:13 December 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of George and Charlotte C. Watson, of Sandy Knolls, Canterbury. Born at West Melton, Canterbury
Service Number:44044
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:2 April 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Corinthic
Theatres of War:Western Front
Cause of Death:Killed in action