Date of birth: 1896
Date of death: 20.09.1918
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Edith Senior nee Yates
Service number: 201379
In the absence of his service record it is not clear when Charles Senior joined the 5th Battalion, however it would appear to be after his marriage.
As part of the re-organisation of the British Army, due to heavy losses in 1917, all infantry brigades were reduced from four to three battalions. On 2nd February 1918 the 1/5th and 2/5th KOYLI amalgamated to become the 5th KOYLI, part of 187th Brigade, 62nd Division. Throughout February the newly formed battalion provided working parties for the 176th and 185th Tunnelling Companies.
On 21st March 1918, the German Army launched a major offensive, on a fifty mile front, from Croisielles to St Quentin. The Allied Armies were pushed back over twelve miles in two days. The 62nd Division was ordered to the Puiseux-Bucquoy area, with the 187th Brigade moving into support positions at Bucquoy, early on the 26th March. The German attack against Bucquoy came at noon and though they gained some ground, they were driven back by a counter-attack. At 22.00 hrs on 27th March, with the enemy attacking through the old trench systems, the 5th KOYLI were ordered to counter-attack and drive the enemy from Rossignol Wood. The counter-attack was successful and the battalion returned to their original positions. The next day 187th Brigade was ordered to attack and regain the original British line. The 5th KOYLI attacked at 5.30 hrs, with “A”, “B” and “C” Coys pushing forward towards the Hebuterne-Bucquoy road, through the old German trench systems. During the afternoon the Germans counter-attacked once again and the three KOYLI companies were overwhelmed. The remnants of the KOYLI battalions held the line from Rossignol Wood to Biez Wood until relieved. The 5th KOYLI incurred 392 casualties between 27th and 31st March, 278 of whom were recorded as missing.
The 25th May 1918 saw the German Army launch its third offensive of the year, this time aimed at the French, who were pushed back to the Marne. On 14th July 1918, the 62nd Division was moved by train to the south of Chalons sur Marne, with the 5th KOYLI going to Bisseul. On 18th July, the 5th KOYLI left Bisseul and marched overnight to Bois de Pourcy, the battalion was to attack on the right of the Divisional front, along the north bank of the River Ardre. The line of attack for the 187th Brigade was along a steep sided valley, through the Bois du Petit Champ. At 08.00 hrs on the morning of 20th July, the 5th KOYLI advanced and made good progress until entering the Bois du Petit Champ. Here they came under heavy machine gun fire from the driveway of the Chateau Commetreuil and enfilade fire from the woods. Very few of the centre company survived the onslaught, though the company on the left pushed on, they were forced to withdraw to the edge of the wood. The 5th KOYLI incurred heavy casualties during this attack, one of whom was Private Charles Senior.
The body of Charles Senior was not identified and therefore he has no known grave. His name is however commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, along with 4,000 officers and men of the British Forces who died during the Battles of the Aisne.
Charles Senior was born in 1896, the eldest son of Alfred and Elizabeth Senior of Shaw Fold, Stanley near Wakefield. His father, Alfred Senior, was a general labourer, who worked at the local collieries or on the farms. On leaving school Charles Senior found work at Messrs J & J Charlesworth’s Nelson Seam Colliery, where he was initially employed as a screener. However, when war was declared, he volunteered to serve his country and, in November 1914, joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
On 7th July 1917 Charles Senior married Edith Yates, the daughter of Levi and Ada Yates of Hatfield Row, at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. At this time the Parish Records show him to be a private in the 4th KOYLI. Later that same year, their son Alfred was born. In 1918 his wife and son were living at Lewis Place, Newton Lane End, Outwood.