Charles Alexander Cuthbert
Date of birth: 1896
Date of death: 15.9.1916
Regiment: Coldstream Guards
Family information: First child of Charles and Frances May Cuthbert
Service number: 13321
At the start of the First World War, he was employed as a driver for the Tramways Company. However, on the 26th October 1914, he enlisted in the army and was drafted to the Coldstream Guards. After eight months training, on 11th July 1915, Private Charles Alexander Cuthbert was posted to France, joining the Machine Gun Company of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
The 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, a regular army battalion, landed at Le Havre on 14th August 1914, part of the British Expeditionary Force. The battalion was involved in the initial withdrawal to the Marne, the First Battle of Ypres and the winter operations around La Bassee Canal and Givenchy.
On 25th August 1915 the 1st Coldstream Guards was transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. Shortly afterwards, came the Battle of Loos and the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
In July 1916, the 1st Coldstream Guards moved from the Ypres area, south, to the Somme battlefield. At 21.30 hours on 14th September, the 1st Coldstream, marched to their assault positions south-east of Ginchy. Early the following morning, the battalion was in position, with No.3 and 4 Coys. in a trench, No.2 Coy on their right and the remainder of the battalion lying in shell holes behind. However, the two tanks allocated to lead from 1st Coldstream position, failed to arrive. The tank barrage, which began at 05.30 hours, alerted the enemy to the forthcoming attack and they replied with their own barrage, inflicting many casualties.
The infantry assault started at 06.20 hours, with the 1st Coldstream advancing behind their barrage. Although the battalion suffered casualties from their own barrage, the first objective was taken. However, the 6th Division, on the right, had failed to make progress. As a consequence, the 1st Battalion came under enfilade fire from high ground on the right, and incurred many casualties. By this time nearly all the officers had become casualties and the battalion lost direction. Parties of men, led by the few remaining officers, managed to gain trenches and hold the right flank. The night was spent in organising and consolidating their positions. The following day, the 16th September, the position was heavily shelled by the enemy, but the 1st Coldstream remained until relieved later that night.
The 1st Coldstream Guards suffered 360 casualties during this attack, one of whom was Private Charles Cuthbert, killed in action. His body was not recovered from the battlefield, but his name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme battlefield. The Memorial bears the names of more than 72000 officers and men who died on the Somme sector, before 20th March 1918 and who have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between 1st July and 18th November 1916.
Charles Alexander Cuthbert was born in 1896, the first child of Charles and Frances May Cuthbert of Beighton, Derbyshire. His father, Charles Cuthbert, who was a grocer shopkeeper, had married Frances May Redfern, in 1895, at Bakewell, At the time of the 1901 census, his parents and brother were living at Beighton, but Charles Alexander was at the home of his grandparents, Frances and Martha Redfern, at Catcliffe Cottages, Bakewell. His father, Charles Cuthbert, later became a commercial traveller and the family moved to Onslow Road, Endcliffe, Sheffield.
On finishing his education, Charles Alexander Cuthbert obtained work with the Yorkshire (West Riding) Electric Tramways Company, at Wakefield. On moving to the Wakefield district, he became a boarder at the home of Charles and Annie Hanson, of North View, Post Office Lane, Outwood. When living at Outwood, Charles Alexander Cuthbert attended the United Methodist Church.