Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

POW Royal Fusilier 4th Bt. 28 August 1924


hellolollie

Recommended Posts

I am not sure if I am in the right place, I am looking for some family history. I have been looking for information about Charles James West L8069 Royal fusiliers, captured on the 28th August 1914. I have seen the medal role and the ICRC record which mentioned Lubeck. I cannot find any further information about Lubeck being a camp during WW1. Any ideas on where to look next would be really helpful. Thank you.

post-123698-0-88842500-1438698613_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To start the ball rolling -

He may have been a reservist recalled at the outbreak of war.

On findmypast there is a service record for Charles James West (born 1883) who attested as 2761, 5th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, on 9.5.1900 aged 17 years and 11 months. Birthplace Enfield, Middlesex. His civilian occupation was 'nurseryman'. He was discharged to Royal Fusiliers 6.6.1900, i.e. he was discharged from 5th Battalion, a Militia Battalion, to a Royal Fusiliers Regular Battalion.

1901 Census - Dover

Charles James West, born Enfield, Middlesex, Private serving with 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

1911 Census - possibly the same man, at 41 Bell Lane Enfield Wash, Enfield, Middlesex.

Charles James West head, 27, married, occupation - lead factory, born Enfield, Middlesex

Ameilia (sic) West, wife, 24, married under one year, born Whaltham Abbey, Essex.

Edit: The address on the medal index card for Charles James West L/8069 is 75, Bell Lane, Enfield Wash, Middlesex which suggests the 1911 census is for the right man.

A marriage register entry on Ancestry - London, England, Marriages and Banns 1754 - 1921 confirms the 1911 census details:-

St. James, Enfield Highway

October 9 1909 - Charles James West 26 batchelor, labourer, address - 75 Bell Lane, Enfield Highway, father - Matthew George West (deceased) married Amelia Simmons 23 spinster, no occupation, address 75, Bell Lane, Enfield Highway, father Richard Russell Simmons [looks like] plumber.

Witnesses - Edward John Clarke, and Annie Simmons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, this makes sense and it is the correct person he married Amelia and lived at 41 and also 75 Bell Lane Enfield Wash. Do you think he would have some service records? I have his medal index and initial signing up records. I am at a sticking point with the POW Lubeck lead. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See marriage details added to post #2. Should give a way into the family history.

The P.O.W. record on IRC did not look convincing to me, being just Charles West, and not clearly Royal Fusiliers, and there are apparently no further details available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is the record I was looking at Chris thanks you have enlightened me a little. Would anyone know where to look for further records as I heard he was gassed during the war and from what I have found out he was at the Battle of Mons then captured on the 28th of August with a leg wound. This would probably be the hospital connection, not sure if the gassing is true, although it has been a story told in the family.

Thanks, Johnboy that is helpful to know a bit more about the place and the hospital.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Wiki

1914: Tear gas[edit]

The earliest military uses of chemicals were tear-inducing irritants rather than fatal or disabling poisons. During the first World War, the French army was the first to employ gas, using 26 mm grenades filled with tear gas (ethyl bromoacetate) in August 1914. The small quantities of gas delivered, roughly 19 cm³ per cartridge, were not even detected by the Germans. The stocks were rapidly consumed and by November a new order was placed by the French military. As bromine was scarce among the Entente allies, the active ingredient was changed to chloroacetone.[5]

In October 1914, German troops fired fragmentation shells filled with a chemical irritant against British positions at Neuve Chapelle, though the concentration achieved was so small that it was barely noticed.[6] None of the combatants considered the use of tear gas to be a conflict with the Hague Treaty of 1899, which prohibited the launching of projectiles containing asphyxiating or poisonous gas.[7

It would seem unlikely that he was gassed. ?

A look at the war diary may help. If digitised, available at The National Archives website or Ancestry. It is not likely to mention him by name but may give figures for those taken prisoner.

Was he a prisoner for the rest of the war?

Don't know why my typing is so small?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe he was a prisoner for the rest of the war as I cannot find any other records other than this medal role from 1921.

4/ R Fus pte L8069

Charles James West

Date of entry 13/8/1914

P of W 28/8/1914

It definitely seems unlikely as he was captured so early.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apparently the Imperial War Museum hold regimental lists of pre Christmas 1914 PoWs, with varying levels of detail - 247 men from the Royal Fusiliers, including L/8069 Private Charles James West. See Paul Nixon's website.

Regards

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles West is named in a list of prisoners who had been moved from Germany to be interned in Holland, before repatriation. This was an agreement made with the Germans which basically meant they no longer had to feed and house the prisoners. Many were repatriated to the U.K. before the war ended. This list was published on Saturday May 11 1918. He is on the bottom line 'West 8069 C.'

Finding when he was repatriated is another matter!

post-43672-0-94655100-1438719586_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles West was included in a list of repatriated prisoners of war published in The Times on Saturday 16.11.1918. Again he is shown on the bottom line of this screen snip. The print is a bit worn, but reads 'West 8069 C.'

post-43672-0-38931600-1438723062_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are two soldiers' effects register entries for Charles James West, so he must have been reported missing, and then a year later on 14.9.15, his death must have been presumed. At some point, they found out he was a POW and someone has written "Man Alive" (possibly on 22.3.16- though it is very hard to tell). I think the money given was later subtracted from his war gratuity.

Soldiers' Effetcs

Soldiers' Effects

Chris

Edit: On one of the pages, the place of death is given as Germany, so perhaps they had some misleading information to say he had died in enemy hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just in regards to the location of the 4th RF on the 28th August- Ham and Noyon are about 100 miles away, so I suspect Charles West must have been lying out wounded, or was being helped by the villagers, until he was captured (That is if he was taken prisoner in the area of Mons, as seems likely). It looks like it might be similar to what happened to Sidney Godley VC, who was injured at Mons, and I believe, 'eventually' fell into the hands of the Germans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles West was included in a casualty list as 'WOUNDED' published in The Times on October 21 1914. The combined official lists were dated October16 and 18 1914. Of the other two Royal Fusiliers - 11070 William Wallace recovered and later served in the R.A.F., Thomas Webb 12274 died of his wounds in November 1914.

post-43672-0-35004300-1438773347_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats interesting. I presume than, that the information about him dying in enemy hands must have come in after that. Confusion with another soldier, perhaps?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...