Charles John Gillhespie

Date of birth: 1896
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Royal Engineers
Battalion: 101st Field Company
Rank / Service No: Lance Corporal, 134512
Died: 29th July 1917, aged 21 years
Buried: La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium (Plot II, Row A, Grave 9)

 

Charles was the second of 4 siblings born to Edward and Priscilla Trevarthan Gillhespie (nee Parker), who married in Southampton in 1892.

Both parents were born in 1861, Edward in Portsmouth and Priscilla somewhere in the New Forest.

 

The family lived at 116 Shirley Road.

 

Edward, a publican, died in Southampton in 1902.

Upon Edward’s demise, Priscilla married another publican. She married Joshua Dale in Southampton in 1909; Joshua managed the Royal Standard on Western Esplanade.

 

Siblings

Kate Eliza   b. 1894 Southampton   d. 1962 Romsey   Married Montague Mason in Southampton in 1914.

Charles John 

William Henry   b. 1898 Southampton   d. 1961 Southampton

William was a Gunner in the Royal Marine Artillery, serving on the battle-cruiser HMS Princess Royal on Channel patrol with the Battle Squadron.

He took part in the Battle of Jutland and his vessel helped sink the “Blucher” near the Dogger Bank.

After Jutland, he was engaged on transport duty between Canada and England.

 

Maggie A. A. b. 1901 Southampton   d. 1954 Southampton   Married Thomas G. Mason in Southampton in 1921.

 

The 101st Field Company served with the 32nd Divison, before transferring to the 23rd Division on 1 February 1915.

The Division spent the spring of 1915 constructing defences to the south of London, and Charles volunteered in October 1915.

 

The Divison landed at Boulogne in the third week of August 1915 but Charles didn’t arrive in France until January 1916.

 

The battalion then spent the next 2 years in Belgian Flanders, taking part in all the major battles.

 

Charles suffered his fatal wounds during the Battle of Passchendaele, sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres.

Sir Douglas Haig thought it imperative that the Allies made a breakthrough to the Belgian coast, with the principle aim of destroying the German submarine pens.

 

After the preliminary artillery attack, which warned the Germans of an impending attack, the Allied infantry made only small gains over an 11 mile front.

Then the rains arrived, and everything came to a virtual standstill, however temporarily.

 

The hamlet of La Clytte was used as Brigade HQ and the burials were carried out by infantry, artillery and engineering units.

66 graves are those of Royal Engineers.

 

The cemetery holds 1,082 Commonwealth WW1 burials.

 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 3rd August 2016
Updated:

 

If you have any additional comments on the person named above, please complete the comments section below.