1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 266299 Charles Henry Ainsworth
- Age: 34
- From: Bootle
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
- K.I.A Saturday 7th December 1918
- Commemorated at: Archangel Allied Memorial
266299 Private Charles Henry AINSWORTH, 17 KLR, Died 07.12.1918 aged 34 years.
Born in the summer of 1884 in Bootle, Charles was the son of Edmund Egerton, a builder, and Jane Ainsworth. His parents had eleven children of whom 7 survived childhood and Charles was the third eldest child and their second son. \the family lived in Bootle or Litherland for most of their lives. In 1891 they were at 43 Carolina Street, Bootle; in 1901 at 41 Seaview Road, Bootle and in 1911 Edmund and Jane were living at 21 Cottier Street, Bootle. Charles had married Emily Rawlinson, a 20 year old laundress, in St Matthew’s Church, Bootle on 25th December 1907 and in 1911 was living with Emily, their two young children (Alfred aged 2 and Stanley aged 7 months) and Charles’s younger brother George at 45 Webster Street, Bootle, when Charles gives his occupation as joiner.
Charles’s Medal Card shows that he was awarded two medals – the BWM and VM – suggesting that he did not go abroad until 1916. We know that from October 1918 he served in Russia and Graham Maddocks in his book “Liverpool Pals” relates how in early December 1918, intelligence indicated that the Bolsheviks were planning to attack the town of Tarassova and “D” Company of the 17th Battalion made their way to the town on 5th December to await the attack and learned from a prisoner that the attack would take place at 7.00am on 6th. Their CO, Captain E A Dickson MC, decided to pre-empt the attack and two officers, 76 other ranks, supported by 30 White Russians travelled through that night and came upon the enemy from the rear. They quickly captured an enemy blockhouse, killing seven and capturing four more, without suffering any casualties themselves. They then attacked a Bolshevik transport column and successfully attacked that, capturing it intact and seizing an amount of arms and ammunition including two Maxim machine guns. The enemy was now aware of their presence and fought back with snipers in the forest area. The Pals continued their advance and after heavy fighting during which the enemy lost many men they captured an enemy supply dump. By now they were within one mile of the enemy whose defence became more effective. One of their two officers, 2nd Lieutenant A. Cousins, was wounded and Captain Dickson was soon up against an estimated enemy force of about 600 men. The White Russians made a somewhat hesitant if not reluctant attack against the Bolshevik flank but were never seen again. Dickson realised his ammunition was running low and his own Lewis guns were seizing up because of the wintry conditions and decided to withdraw, destroying the captured wagons and limbers and even killing most of the captured horses first. They retreated, taking the Maxim guns with them but eventually had to break up the guns and abandon them in the forest before returning to Tarassova with five prisoners and seven horses. Second Lieutenant Cousins later died of his wounds, as did Sergeant Percy Greany MM; three others were wounded but recovered, and Private Charles Ainsworth, together with Privates Robert Brown, James Houghton, Alfred Owens and Henry Turner were all killed during this action.
Records of Charles Ainsworth’s death show that he and Emily had another son, Edmund, born in 1916 at Hawarden and that in 1921 Emily was living at 114 St Anne Street, Chester. A family tree notes that Edmund was killed in action on 23rd January 1944 at Monte Cassino. Records show this to be Private 4751141 of the Leicestershire Regiment, born and resident in Chester and according to 1944 Probate records, Edmund’s widow, Ivy Lilian nee Hewitt, was living in St Anne Street, Chester. Charles’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing of the North Russian Campaign at Archangel and the Russian Memorial at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.
Grateful thanks are extended to Stephen Chamberlain for sharing the photograph of Charles Henry with us.