Name: Charles Reeves Liddell
DoB: May 14, 1892
Regt: Royal Field Artillery; Service No: 715327
DoD: April 21 1918.
Academic Career: CGS 1905-07
Other: Draughtsman with Messrs. Cowan, Sheldon, & Co
Charles was born in Manchester when his father was there working with his brother-in-law, WH Reeves. But both his parents were from Cumbria and had moved back to Stanwix by the time of the 1901 Census. Charles Isaac Liddell is listed as a joiner and builder (employer) by this census. The family believe there was friction between him and his father Isaac Liddell as they had competing businesses. In the 1911 census Charles and little brother Thomas were still at home but Charles was a draughtsman. They were living at 35, Rosebery Road, Stanwix, Carlisle. The Carlisle grammar school register gives the address of 27 Etterby Street.
Charles enlisted in early September 1914 as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery he saw fighting on different war fronts. According to the Cumberland News he served for six months in Gallipoli and 12 months in Egypt (he is recorded as having entered Egypt on June 4 1915. “D” Bty. 210th Bde) .and “up to the borders of Palestine” and then in France for about 14 months. He was gassed in September 1917 and after a couple of months in hospital he was attached to another field battery. Later he transferred back to his original battery.
Charles was Killed in action, April 21, 1918. Aged 25. Major WT Higbst(?) wrote: “He was killed by a shell whilst repairing a telephone line near the Battery position this morning. His death would be instantaneous. The fact that he died bravely doing his duty and that his end came without pain or suffering may be to you as it is to us his comrades…some small fragment of consolation in your grief…A general favourite in the battery he was in every sense of the word a real soldier, as fearless as he was modest. His particular work – a lineman – is at times dangerous and calls for a high standard of personal courage and endurance. Never has your son been known to hesitate or fail in his duty or to shrink from any personal danger. His work, always done in a quiet and unassuming way, was invariably thoroughly and conscientiously done, and it can be truly be said of him that no one who has given his all to his country and his country’s cause has served more faithfully than he. I know that Colonel Mason…had the very highest opinion of your son’s sterling qualities. As a soldier and as a comrade, the battery is poorer by his death. I am sending his body down to the back area tonight, and it will be laid to rest in the British cemetery at ——————- tomorrow.”
He was buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery Grave Reference I.A.2
The Cumberland News later reported how Colonel Mason wrote to say: “Charlie…(has) been awarded the Military Medal for a specific act of bravery in the field…Alas! That your poor boy, whom I know so well, is not here for me to convey to him personally my congratulations. He was one of my most trusted men whose technical knowledge was invaluable – a charming personality, modest and unassuming to such a degree as to be a stumbling block to his own advancement. His duty was a dangerous one; and so keen was he always that communications should be maintained that he never spared himself – on occasions, indeed, he had to be restrained from going out, so great was the risk to himself. England need never fear so long as she can produce such men as he – the personification of unselfishness and self-sacrifice. He realised the vital importance of his work and he did it honestly and fearlessly. Great and cruel though I know the blow of his death will be to you…yet be thankful for a son who was a good soldier and a good man. His life, I am sure, has not been lived in vain.”
Awards: Military medal (Date of Gazette August 29 1918).
Royal Field Artillery
Service No: 715327
The CGS Memorial Register records Charles was working as a Draughtsman with Messrs. Cowan, Sheldon and Co.. His family had “He gave his life that we might live” inscribed on his tombstone.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
1911 RG RG14/31339
c) Margaret Davie
d) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
e) The Cumberland News 4 May 1918 and 18 May 1918