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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
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
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

L/Cpl 51576 Charles Thorne Baggett


  • Age: 28
  • From: Ledbury
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
  • K.I.A Monday 9th April 1917
  • Commemorated at: St Martin Calvaire Brit Cem
    Panel Ref: I.A.18

Charles Thorne Baggett was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire in  the September quarter of 1888, his father, Ledbury born, agricultural labourer James Baggett had married Ledbury born Maria Lambert in Ledbury in 1876. She was sister of his first wife Susannah by whom he had a son William. Charles was their third child of four children (2 boys, Arthur and Charles and two girls Clara and Edith May). 

On the 1891 Census, Charles aged 3 appears with his mother and his step brother William and sister Edith as inmates of the Ledbury Workhouse.
 
The 1901 Census shows Charles aged 14 as a visitor at 16 Upton Rd Tranmere, Wirral at his mother's brother Benjamin's household.
 
The 1911 Census shows him aged 23 back in Ledbury as a Servant /Barman at The Prince of Wales Pub in Church Lane, Ledbury.
 
In 1915 Charles enlisted in Liverpool into the 17th Pals Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Pte 51576 giving Egremont as his birthplace. After training locally and at both Belton Park, Grantham and Lark Hill, Salisbury Plain he reached France on 07th Novermber 1915. He was promoted to Lance Corporal. He will have seen action throughout 1916 at the Somme.      
 
By April 1917 the Battle of Arras (also known as the first Battle of the Scarpe) began on 9th April 1917 ( Easter Monday) the details of the day show:

17th,  19th & 20th  Battalion at the  Battle of Arras 09/04/1917

Everard Wyrall records the events of the day in Volume 2 of his History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool).

The 89th Brigade formed up for the attack with the 19th King's on the right and the 20th King’s on the left. The 17th King’s supplied the “mopping up" parties and he 2nd Bedfords were in close support.

It was just after 3pm when the advance began “According to scheduled time the waves advanced in good style and with determination; everyone was cheerful and in the best of spirits”

That advance is described by others as magnificent. From the OP’s the observing officers saw a wonderful sight – long lines of men advancing steadily up a long and gradual slope towards the enemy’ front line. Then suddenly they disappeared. The observers quite pardonably, imagined that the German front line had fallen into the hands of the assaulting troops and that the latter were on the way to the enemy’s support line. Alas something very different had happened. When the advancing troops had reached the summit of the long slope up which they advanced the ground suddenly dipped before the German front line , and when the observing officers thought they  were already in the Bosche lines they had not, as a matter of fact, even reached the wire. What the observers took to be the front line was really the support line; the front line could not be seen  - it lay just behind the crest of that slight rise in the ground.

The attacking waves of the 19th King’s got within 100 yards of the German wire but were then held up. They were faced by three belts of entanglements, practically untouched by our artillery, and nothing could be done but to dig in or else take shelter in the many shell- shell-with which “No Man’s Land" was pitted. By this time the battalion’s losses were very heavy, and when darkness fell “A" and “B" Companies (about 140 in all) lay in shell-holes, two or three hundred yards north east of St. Martin, but just south of the Cojeul River, and “C" and “D" Companies (140 all ranks) were along the river bank, but on the northern side about 150 yards north east of St. Martin.

The first waves of the 20th King’ advanced at 3.7p.m. At 4p.m.Lieut Beaumont, commanding “A" Company, reported that he had had some forty casualties in passing through the enemy’s barrage. The next message, timed 4.40p.m., stated that the position of the battalion at that period was on a crest in front of the enemy’s wire and about 100 yards from it. On the right the 21st Division was observed to have penetrated the enemy’s front line, but in the left the right Battalion of the 21st Brigade (the Wilts) was on the St. Martin- Neuville Vitasse road; the left flank of the 20th King's was, therefore, “ in the air”.

Urgent messages were sent up from Battalion Headquarters to “push on, keeping in touch with right” But little else could be accomplished until those formidable belts of wire had been cut sufficiently to allow the rapid passage of the attacking troops,headed by their bombers.

At 9:30 that night 89th Brigade Headquarters ordered both the 19th and 20th Battalions to withdraw, the former to the two sunken roads running south east from St. Martin, the latter to north west of St. Martin; the guns had been ordered to cut the enemy’s wire during the night in preparation for another attack during the 10th April.

Of the 17th King’s  - the “moppers up" – there is little to relate. There was nothing to “mop up" so that they did not function. Yet they had shared all the perils of the advance, and when  after they had fallen back and at midnight held the following positions, “B", “C", and “D" Companies in and around the sunken road north of Boiry-Becquerelle and “A" Company in trenches west of Henin, they lost 2 officers and 16 other ranks killed, and 3 officers and 48 other ranks wounded. 

Charles was one of the Pals killed in action. He was 28 years of age.
 
He is commemorated with a CWGC Military Headstone at St.Martin Calvaire British Cemetery at I. A.18 where his headstone bears the epitaph:

“REST IN THE LORD”

On 21 April 1917 his mother, Maria of Bye Street Ledbury placed a death notice in the Ledbury Guardian. It stated he was her only son which indicates his elder brother William was his father's first born from his first wife.

His father, James, does not appear on any records or Census records after his marriage in 1876 and appears not to have lived with Charles and the family.
 
His mother received Charles' Army Pay of £4:6s:6d on 16/07/1917, in addition she recieved a War Gratuity of £6 on 21/10/1919. She also claimed the Dependants Pension.

Charles is listed on the Ledbury War Memorial in Ledbury High Street just across the street from where he worked.