In Flanders Fields….Charles Townley


Geddington Roll of Honour 1914-18

Picture of Charles Townley

Charles Townley

Rank: Driver
Service No: 234526
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery – 210th Brigade – H.Q.
Date of Death: 09/11/1918 – Died of pneumonia following wounds, aged 24
Cemetery: Geddington (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard – Grave: North of church Ref: C70
Memorial Inscription: 234526 Driver CHARLES TOWNLEY, Royal Field Artillery, 9th November 1918 aged 24.
‘He fought the fight, The victory won, And entered into rest.’
War Office Information: Son of Samuel and Ruth Townley, of Wood Street, Geddington.

Personal Information

Charles died just before the Armistice was agreed, having been sent home to England following wounds received in the ‘great advance’. He died in York Military Hospital. For his parents Samuel Lee and Ruth Townley (nee Mace) it was the second loss in the year as Charles’ brother Frederick had died in April 1918

His father Samuel Lee Townley, was a carpenter and worked on the Boughton Estate. He was  born in 1864 in Geddington and died 1921 as the memorial to his two sons was being erected.

Siblings: Isabel (Mabel) Townley 1896-1943
Frederick (see his entry)

Charles was born in 1894 in Geddington and was baptised there on 24 June 1894. He later became a member of the church choir and was the third one from that choir to give his life for his country. The choir at the time was so good that people would walk from Kettering on a Sunday evening just to hear the singing. In her book ‘Geddington as it was’ Monica Rayne describes Bill Hopkins’ recollection of Charlie, ‘his old mate’ :

‘He used to sing the Magnificat solo and when Charlie got up (to sing) you could hear a pin drop’

1901 Census: Wood Road [sic], Geddington
Samuel Townley (father); Aged 37; carpenter; b. Geddington
Ruth Townley (mother); Aged 37; b. Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire
Charles Townley; Aged 6; b. Geddington
Mabel (Isobel)Townley (sister); Aged 5; b. Geddington
Frederick Townley (brother); Aged 2; b. Geddington
Dinah Townley (grandmother); Aged 83; b. Geddington

1911 Census: Wood Street, Geddington
Sidney Townley (father); Aged 47; estate carpenter – married 17 years
Ruth Townley (mother); Aged 47 – 3 children (all living)
Charles Townley; Aged 16; farm labourer
Isobel Townley (sister); Aged 15
Fred Townley (brother); Aged 12