Hemming, Charles Henry. Died 4th Sep 1918

Charles Henry Hemming was born in Rugby in 1879. His father was Charles Gibbs Hemming, a general labourer living at 20 North Street, Rugby. His mother was Bathsheba Matthews, of Long Lawford and they married at Newbold in December 1877. Charles Gibbs Hemming was born in Welford, Gloucestershire.

Charles Henry was the eldest child and by 1891, he had five younger siblings. Four more children had arrived by 1901 and the family was living at 36 Dale Street. Charles Henry was aged 21 and was a labourer in a foundry, as was his father.

The family was still there in 1911, but Charles Henry had moved out. In late 1901 he had married Annie Maria Wilson and they were living at 3 Hill Street, with one child, nine year old Louis Charles. Charles was now a core maker in iron foundry. A second child, Denis W was born in 1917.

He must have been working for Willans and Robinson, as in the Rugby Advertiser of 12th Sept 1914 he was mentioned in a list of workmen from there who had joined “since Thursday, September 3rd

He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, 46th Field Ambulance, No. 26010. By 1918 he had reached the rank of serjeant.

The Field Ambulance was a mobile front line medical unit, manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Most Field Ambulances came under command of a Division, and each had special responsibility for the care of casualties of one of the Brigades of the Division.

46th Field Ambulance served with the 15th (Scottish) Division which was formed in September 1914. They left for France in July 1915 and were involved in most of the major actions of the war. In 1918 they fought in the First Battle of Bapaume, the First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Soissonnais and of the Ourcq (18-22 July 1918) when most of the ground lost in the German Spring Offensive was regained. On 28th July an attack was made on Buzancy, before the Final Advance in Artois.

There is some confusion about Charles Henry Hemming’s death. The CWGC certificate gives the date as 4th September 1918 and it appears that is the date inscribed on his headstone, but the attached grave registration, at Vauxbuin French National Cemetery, says 25th July 1918. The body was concentrated (removed and reburied) from Dommiers British Cemetery, where his name is given as Sergt G H Hemmings. He was buried with three other men from the 46th Field Ambulance and a handful of Scottish soldiers who all died on 25/26th July.

Dommiers British Cemetery was located on the East side of that village, and contained the graves of 50 soldiers of the 15th Division who fell in July and August 1918.

The Soldiers Effects document, in which money is paid to his widow, Annie, gives his death “in action” as 24th July 1918. The same date is given on the list of soldiers Died in the Great War, where he was “killed in action (gas)”

Charles Henry Hemming is remembered on the St Phillip’s Church Memorial (as Charles Hemmings) as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates.

Annie Maria Hemming remarried, in 1923, to Thomas A Sprowson



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