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Charles Wainwright

Date of birth: 1883
Date of death: 09.04.1917
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Emily Jane Wainwright nee Jaques
Rank: Private
Service number: 235164

War Service

In the absence of his service record it is not certain when Charles Wainwright joined the army, or whether he was a volunteer or conscript. However he left his job in the coal mines and was drafted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, serving with 64th Brigade, 21st Division, in France.
The 21st Division sailed for France on 11th September 1915 and two weeks later was involved in the Battle of Loos. The 64th Brigade, in Divisional reserve, was ordered to remain in the trench line, however, as the enemy pushed the attackers back from Hill 70, these trenches became involved in the fight. During the afternoon, amid some confusion, the 9th KOYLI moved forward without official orders and advanced to counter-attack the enemy, towards the Loos-Hulloch road. They were closely followed by the 10th KOYLI. The attackers started up the hill, but were cut down from the flanks by machine-gun and shrapnel fire. Both KOYLI battalions had to withdraw to their original line, the 9th KOYLI having incurred 216 casualties during this action.
The Battle of the Somme began, at 07.30 hours, on the 1st July 1916, with the 21st Division holding the line from La Boisselle to Fricourt. Five minutes before zero hour, the leading companies from 9th and 10th KOYLI crept out into “No Man’s Land”, under cover of the barrage from our own guns. At 07.30 hours, when the barrage lifted, the battalions advanced, only to be cut down by machine-gun fire. However the first objective was taken and the battalion pressed on to Crucifix Trench. Here the line was consolidated and held by the 64th Brigade, until relieved the following morning. During the first day of the battle, 9th KOYLI incurred 495 casualties and was withdrawn to the north of Arras.
The 21st Division returned to the Somme and on 15th September, the 64th Brigade moved into Flers Trench in front of Gueudecourt. With the attack due to begin at 09.20 hours the following morning, the 9th KOYLI went forward over open ground, under cover of the barrage, to positions some 50 yards from the enemy trenches. They had incurred heavy losses in the process and were unable to press home their attack, when the barrage lifted. Despite incurring 389 casualties, the 9th KOYLI held their position amongst the craters, until relieved at midnight on 17th September.
On the 25th September, with the 9th KOYLI in support, Gueudecourt was once again attacked and the enemy trenches on the Gueudecourt-Les Boeufs road gained. On being withdrawn the following night, 21st Division moved north of Arras for re-organisation.
On 4th April 1917 the 9th KOYLI was bivouacked at Boisleux-au-Mont, in preparation for the assault of the Hindenburg Line about the Henin-Heninel road. After church parade on the 8th April the Battalion marched to the trenches. During the afternoon of 9th April the 9th KOYLI commenced their assault through deep snow. Due to insufficient artillery preparation they found much of the enemy wire intact, but still managed to penetrate the first line. The Battalion was checked at the second line and forced to seek shelter in shell holes, until ordered to withdraw at 05.00 hours on the following morning.
The 9th KOYLI incurred 182 casualties during this attack, one of whom was Private Charles Wainwright, killed in action on 9th April 1917. He was buried in the British Cemetery at St Martin-sur-Cojeul, a village 8 km south-east of Arras. The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by the 21st Division Burial Officer and now contains 349 burials and commemorations from the First World War, 35 of them unidentified.

Family Life

Charles Wainwright was born in 1883, the son of Arthur Wainwright and his wife Caroline, formerly Broadbent, of Newton Hill. Shortly after his birth, Charles was baptised at Outwood Wesleyan Methodist Church. The family lived at Hatfield Row, Coach Road for some time, however in 1901, they were living at Princess Avenue, Outwood. After leaving school Charles Wainwright obtained work at a local colliery. In the summer of 1906 he married Emily Jane Jaques and shortly afterwards went to live at Streethouse, near Pontefract. The couple initially lived at Winney Lane, but later moved to Smith Street at Streethouse. Their daughter Ivy was born during the spring of 1908, the same year as his mother, Caroline Wainwright, died.

Cojeul British Cemetery Cojeul British Cemetery

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