Friday, 18 January 2013

Private Charles Reed

Charles Reed was born in Bristol in 1881, eldest and only son of Albert & Eva Reed. He had two younger sisters and the family lived in St Phillips, Bristol where his father was an Insurance Agent. In 1904 he married Margaret Davies, a widow with two young girls, Ivy & Olive. Charles was now a Postman and in 1907 Margaret gave birth to their daughter Eva. In 1911, they were living in Redfield, Bristol but had moved to Brislington 3 years later.

Charles Reed's Service Records do survive. He was attested into the Royal Field Artillery on 8th November 1916 at the age of 35, and after a medical, was deemed unfit for service overseas, no reason given. He was transferred to the 3rd Labour Company, Royal Irish Regt in April 1917 and then to the Labour Corps. Then again, he was transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps in August 1917 and sent to the Training Battalion at Blackpool.

In February 1918, despite being classified as unfit, he found himself landing in France, and then attached to serve with 24th Field Ambulance.  I wonder whether he requested this move, or whether the needs of the war expedited this change? We will never know! What we do know is that he served with the unit until 2 days after the Armistice, when he was admitted to 42 Casualty Clearing Station, suffering from Influenza, a disease that worldwide, would kill 3 times as many people than those killed in the war. Charles was evacuated back to the UK and to an auxiliary hospital of the Birmingham War Hospital in Hereford - Hampton Grange, which is still in existence as a Care Home. Here, he succumbed to the disease on the 13th January 1919. He is buried in Avon View Cemetery, Bristol. His widow never married but died in Weston-super-Mare in 1961. It is likely that his daughter married late in life and died in 1990.

This sheet from Pte Reed's Service Records details his last few days

"Glasses in case" "2 sets Dentures"

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