Date of birth: 1887
Place of birth: Freemantle, Southampton
Date of marriage: 1916
Place of marriage: Southampton
Died: 18th April 1917 aged 31 years
Death Location: At sea near Devon
Life before the War
Henry was born 1887 in Freemantle, Southampton and baptised at Christ Church, Freemantle, Southampton on 10 April 1887. His parents were James John and Ellen, nee King, who married in 1872. At the time of his baptism, his father wasa Seaman. Henry had 9 siblings – Rosina 1873 – 1915, James John (aka John) junior 1874 – 1929, Thomas 1877 – 1952, Frederick 1880 – 1970, Jessie 1882, Ellen Clara 1884 – 1976, Minnie 1885 – 1962, William 1888 – 1957 and Florence 1890 – 1981.
In the 1891 census Henry was living at 72 Wellington Road, Millbrook, Southampton with his parents James John and Ellen, along with siblings. At this time James John senior was a Ship Engineer Labourer.
By 1901 his mother was a widow and working at home (her own account) as a Laundress. Henry was employed as a Post Errand Boy. They were living at 15 Nelson Road, Freemantle, Southampton. Living with Henry and his mother were his siblings Thomas, Jessie, William and Florence.
In 1911 Henry was still living at home with his mother and siblings James, Frederick, Minnie and Florence. They are now at 34 Nelson Road, Freemantle, Southampton. The census shows his mother is not working. Henry is a Ships Fireman.
In 1916, he marries Annie Caroline Joiner. There were no children of the marriage.
Henry was a member of the Mercantile Marines and served aboard the H.M.H.S. Asturias (Belfast). Asturias was built in 1907 for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. In 1914 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted into a hospital ship and then turned over to the Army. She did regular cross channel runs carrying the wounded men from France as well as in the Mediterranean in support of the Dardanelles campaign. In March 1917 she landed wounded at Avonmouth and was returning to Southampton where most of the crew lived. At midnight on 20 March a German U Boat fired torpedoes and the stern of the ship was blown off. In darkness the ship was abandoned, many of the crew were killed by the explosion while others drowned when two lifeboats smashed into each other. Casualties were reported as 20 crew dead, 9 missing and 22 injured. Eleven military personal were killed, 3 missing and 17 injured.
Henry Charles is Remembered with Honour at Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery.
The cemetery has a First World War plot near its main entrance containing most of the 113 graves of those who died. Behind this is the Holybrook Memorial which commemorates by name almost 1,900 service men and women of the Commonwealth land and air forces whose graves are not known. It also bears the named of those lost at sea.