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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 31392
7th Battalion - South Lancashire Regiment
Who was killed in action on Saturday, 3rd November 1917
Age 20

No Known Grave Panel 92 & 93 & 162 to 162a
Memorial to the "Missing", Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, West Flanders, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium1

Charles Claude Sturt was born in Beeston, Notts in 1897, the third of four sons, one of six surviving children2 of Montague Edward (b. c1867, Islington, London) and Martha, his wife (née Ginnever c1869, Grantham. Lincs). Montague and Martha had married in Islington in 18893 and, by 1891 had moved to live with her parents at 12 City Road, Dunkirk, Nottingham4. Her father, Henry Ginnever, originally from Bramcote, Notts, worked locally as a blacksmith. Montague had found work as an insurance agent and it was here that the couple's first two sons were born, By the time Charles Claude was born, however, the family had moved to Beeston where Montague senior had started work as a bicycle maker - probably at the Humber Company which was now operating in Beeston - and were living at 76 Wollaton Road5. After their last child was born in Beeston in 1905, the family moved backed to Dunkirk, possibly after the Humber Company left Beeston in 1907. In 1911, Martha and her children were living at 12 City Road, Dunkirk6. Her two elder sons - Montague junior and Wallace, were working in the lace trade and Charles Claude, now aged 13, was working as an errand boy for a hardware dealer. Montague senior was boarding in nearby Lenton and working as a manager for the Singer Sewing Machine Company7.

When war came in 1914, all three sons of eligible age, as well as their father, enlisted in the Army. Montague senior appears to have been a reservist with the Notts & Derby Regiment and was to serve until July 1917 as a local guard in the Territorial Force, mainly with 161 Protection Company of the Royal Defence Corps, but with several releases to undertake munitions work. He was to reach the rank of Corporal before his eventual release due to age8. Montague junior enlisted with the Notts and Derby Regiment very early in the war and later transferred to the Royal Sussex Regiment. He landed in France in February 1915, survived the war and was discharged in February 19199. Wallace also enlisted with the Notts & Derby Regiment, in September 1915 but was released as unsuitable for service in the following January10.

As Charles Claude's Army Service Record has not survived, we do not have a precise record of when he enlisted, but it was probably in June 191611 with the South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales Volunteers). It is probable that, after training, he was posted to France in the Spring of 1917. He was then attached to 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment, a battalion that had been formed in August 1914 as part of Kitchener's New Army. In July 1915 it had moved to the Western Front and had taken part on many of the major battles of late 1915 and of 1916, including Hooge, Albert and the Ancre12. Its involvement in the three-month-long series of bitter battles, stating at the end of July 1916, which made up the Third Battle of Ypres - also known as Passchendaele - was probably Charles Claude's brutal introduction to conditions on the Western Front.

Towards the end of this series of battles - as part of the Second Battle of Passchendaele at the end of October - the Battalion was in position in the Ypres Salient at Spoil Bank next to the Ypres-Comines Canal from where it relieved the 7th North Lancashire Regiment in the right subsector, from Belgium Wood to the Comines Canal, east of Hollebeke and set-to improving and draining forward posts. On 1 November, an enemy aircraft dropped bombs on the Battalion Transport Line killing 14 horses and wounding 6 more and, on the following day, enemy artillery blew in a section of trench killing a Sergeant and 4 men with another wounded13. As nothing of significance is recorded on the 3rd. it seems likely that Charles Claude was one of those killed or wounded during the attack on the 2nd.

As Private Sturt's body was never identified he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing within the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery of that name. The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war. On the forward slope of the Passchendaele Ridge is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war. The cemetery and its surrounding memorial are located outside of Passchendaele, near Zonnebeke in Belgium. The Cross of Sacrifice is to be found in a central position in the cemetery, at the base of the cross a small patch of the original German Block House can still be seen, contained within a bronze wreath, while on the far side, between it and the memorial wall, is a collection of some 300 graves. These are the original battle-field burials left where they were found after the Armistice. The other some nearly 12,000 graves which stand in parade ground order, were brought in from the surrounding area after the Armistice. The stone wall surrounding the cemetery makes up the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. On completion of the Menin Gate memorial to the missing in Ypres, it was discovered that it was too small to contain all the names that were originally planned. An arbitrary cut-off point of 15th August was chosen and the names of the UK missing after this date were inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial instead. The memorial contains the names of 33,783 soldiers of the UK forces and a further 1,176 New Zealanders.14.

Private Sturt was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal15. His financial effects, amounting to 2 16 1d were paid to his father on 11 May 1918 and he was also paid his War Gratuity of 6 on 19 November 191916.

By the end of the war, Martha , his mother, had move to live at 21 Broughton Street, Beeston17 with her remaining unmarried children. Her husband lived apart from the family and died in March 192318. Martha continued to at 21 Broughton Street for the remainder of her life, and died in 1946, aged 79. Lawrence died, aged only 19, in 1925, Wallace in 1965, aged 71 and Ethel Pearl, who never married and lived with her mother, in 1988, aged 87. All four are buried together in Beeston Cemetery, where their memorial survives19.

1The photograph of the Tyne Cot Memorial is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q2/1897 (Ref 7b 220). His siblings were Montague (b. c1892), Wallace Edward (b. c1894), Gladys Dorothy (c1900), Ethel Pearl (b. 1901 and Lawrence (b. 1905).
3Their Marriage took place in Islington Parish Church, London on 10 March 1889. Montague Edward, then aged 23, was described as a sailor.
4Lenton, Notts, 1891 Census, Piece 2681 Folio 41).
5Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 23).
6Dunkirk, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20490 RD430 SD1 ED1 Sched 132.
7Lenton, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20492 RD430 SD3 ED3 Sched 499. He was boarding at 28 Chippendale St, Lenton with Annie Jackson and her two children. In 1922, he is at 39 Lamcote Street, Nottingham with 'Annie Sturt' (Electoral Roll).
8Based on his Army Service Record and Pension Record which survive and are available at ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk.
9This outline of Wallace's Army Service is derived from entries on his Medal Card, available at ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk.
10Based on his Army Service Record which survives and is available at ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk.
11Calculated based on the amount of his War Gratuity.
12This summary of the battalion's deployment is based on its entry on the Forces War Records site (www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/5024/south-lancashire-regiment)
13This summary of the battalion's action over these few days is derived from its War Diary,
14The description of the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
15Details from Charles Claude's Medal Card and Medal Roll - available on ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk.
16Details from "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
17This is the address given for at the time of her husband's discharge from the Army and in Charles Claude's Commonwealth War Grace Commission entry.
18He died of heart disease (mitral stenosis) in Nottingham General Hospital on 25 March 1923 (Army Pension Records).
19Their memorial can be viewed here in a new window.

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