Curtis, Charles Bernard

Born Hull 1895. Hull Pals. Son of Thomas & Catherine Curtis of 12. Ada’s Terrace, Seaton Street, Hull. Brother of Raymond & Alice.
Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE CHARLES BERNARD CURTIS 13/1430. Born in October 1894, Charles was the son of Thomas and Catherine Curtis of 12 Ada’s Terrace, Seaton Street, Hull. A Labourer before the war, he married Amy Key, in summer 1913 and the couple had two children, Catherine and Charles Jnr. They lived at 10, St Silas terrace, Swann Street, Hull (War Pension address). He enlisted at City Hall in April 1915 initially joining the 13th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment before being transferred to first the 14th and then posted to the 11th on the Western Front. He was wounded in the leg during the Somme attack and evacuated to 7th Casualty Clearing Station where he died of his wounds on 21st July 1916. Charles is buried at Merville Communal Cemetery; he was 21 years old. The hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations were quite simply overrun with wounded men during the early weeks of the Somme campaign, and I can’t help but wonder if Charles was simply cast to one side as doctors fought to save those in most need. I hope I am wrong, but it is quite possible Charles would have survived a leg wound if he could have got adequate medical attention, or had been injured during a quieter period. Hhe could well have simply bled to death, one of several thousand men laid on the grass outside a tent waiting their turn, or succumbed to the dreaded gangrene.

Andrae Sutherland writes on 11/10/2013 – “The story gets even sadder I’m afraid. In 1928, Amy his widow posted a letter in the Hull Daily Mail – ‘A MOTHER’S VOICE FROM CANADA. Having not heard of the whereabouts of son, aged 11 years, for period of six months, would you kindly through the medium of your paper try to find out for me if, since being placed with Mrs Alice Raymond, 37, Welton-grove, Cottingham., he is still alive and well. I have written and received no reply. I am trying to have him sent to here in Canada. His father was the late Charles Bernard Curtis, of 13th East Yorks., and I am waiting and hoping the Government will send him to me. Since I re-married, my daughter was sent out, but owing to my home being burned down I could not have him sent to me. My mother-in-law died a year ago. Please ease a mother’s mind if you can, and oblige an old Hull reader of your paper. I am. Sir, etc., (Mrs) AMY ROBET (nee Curtis). Isle Perrot, North, T. 2., Canada, March 24th, 1928. She again appealed in 1932, when Charles Jnr was 15 yrs old. Catherine, her daughter put out a further appeal in 1936, but by this time Charles jnr had joined the army in 1935, but was discharged through illness. He later committed several ‘petty crimes’. Who knows what that young lad went through, not knowing his father, being placed with an aunt and his mother and sister living on the other side of the world. Sadly, he was not alone, an unforgotten legacy of war are the millions of children growing up without their fathers.”

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Merville Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France