Lance Corporal Charles Lowndes of D Company, 1st/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment.
Service No: 2139.
Charles was born on the 24th June 1894 and the birth was registered in Keighley in the third quarter of that year. He was the third son of five boys and three girls to Charles and Ellen Ann Lowndes. Their father Charles 'senior' was a stone quarryman. Charles was baptised along with his older sister Emily, on 5th March 1896 at St Mary's Church, Eastwood when the family were living at Long Lee, where there was a quarry and it's possible Charles 'senior' was working there, or the one on Parkwood, just down the hill.
Charles 'junior' was five years old in the 1901 census and the family were now living at 12, Becks Road which was across the other side of Keighley. The family then moved to Alpha Street off Parkwood Road in 1904 but by 1910 they had moved across the road to 9, Belle Vue Terrace (Feather Street), also off Parkwood Road. It's likely all their children of school age would have attended Parkwood School across the road.
By 1911 Charles was 15 and working as an apprentice fitter for Prince Smith and Son making textile machinery. His father had changed jobs and was now working as a labourer in an iron foundry, of which there were many in Keighley's industrial centre although it's quite likely he was working for Dean, Smith and Grace just around the corner.
Charles attested with the 6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment (Territorials) on 5th April 1914 at the age of 18 years and ten months. His medical shows he was 5 feet 4 inches tall with a 35" chest, good vision and physical condition. His enlistment was approved on 28th May.
Charles attended the week's training at Marske Army Camp near Redcar, from 26th July until 3rd August, 1914.
The group photograph of 15 men shows Charles Lowndes standing 3rd from left on the back row and Joseph William (Willie) Tatton is 5th from left on the back row and Isaiah Sanders lying down at front left:
At the outbreak of war he was embodied for home service on 5th August and he and his pal Willie Tatton signed up for overseas service on the 15th September, entitling them to wear the Imperial Service Badge. His 'Home' service lasted until 13th April 1915 and the next day he embarked on S.S. Onward at Folkestone with the rest of the 1/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment, arriving in Boulogne just a few hours later.
He needed medical treatment a couple of times in his service. On 7th August 1915 he was sick with diarrhoea and rejoined his unit a few days later on 11th August.
On the 25th March 1916 he was admitted with scabies and rejoined his unit about a week later on 1st April.
He was wounded in service, when on 16th August 1916 he was admitted to the 1/3 West Riding Field Ambulance with a shrapnel wound in his left arm. He was transferred on 19th September to number 29 Casualty Clearing Station for further treatment and to number 22 General Hospital at Carniers and eventually to the infantry base depot at Etaples once he had recovered. He then rejoined his unit on 14th September.
Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment war diary entry for 16th August 1916:
NORTHERN BLUFF. AUTHUILLE. THIEPVAL WOOD.
Our artillery shelled enemy lines opposite the battalion front intermittently during the day. Enemy retaliation was not heavy, but he fired shrapnel over our trenches at intervals during the day.
2055. Pte. Marshall, T. - D Coy. Wounded in hand by shrapnel.
4696. Pte. Walsh, S. - D Coy. Wounded in knee by bomb.
2304. Pte. Scott, S. - D Coy. Wounded in hand by bomb.
4045. Pte. Clayton, G. - D Coy. Wounded in hand by bomb.
4477. Pte. Hardy, S. S. - D Coy. Accidentally wounded in both knees by rifle bullet.
5628. Pte. Shackleton, W. - D Coy. Accidentally wounded in left knee by rifle bullet.
5346. Pte. Grimston, W. - A Coy. Slightly wounded in hand (remained on duty).
2139. Pte. Lowndes, C. - D Coy. Wounded in arm by H.E. (high explosive shell).
Charles was appointed as a Lance Corporal (paid) on 30th September at the same time as his best pal Willie Tatton and they had served alongside each other from their days in early 1914.
On the 20th November 1916, aged 21 years Charles was killed in action by an explosion from a German trench mortar along with four other men from Keighley, including his best pal Willie Tatton.
1st/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment War Diary for November 1916:
TRENCHES NOVEMBER 1916.
Early in the morning one of our patrols was bombed & 3 men wounded. LINCOLN LANE was T.M. about 8 am.
A much better day, the sun been shining at times.
TRENCHES NOVEMBER 1916.
The 5th WRRgt raided the enemy's trenches on our right, zero hour 8 P.M. A number of Germans were killed, only 2
of the raiding party (5 Off & 95 O.R.) were killed. 3 men went out from our left Coy & sent up German SOS rockets
from a German advanced sap & this drew most of the retaliation onto our Bn., the centre coy in ##### being heavily
bombarded by minnies(sic)
One of our patrols rear LA BRAVELLE (sic) Rd were bombed & 3 men hit.
1461 Sgt Hudson W. A coy killed by shell Buried by Capt Jones in Fonquevillers(sic) Cem.
5291 Pte Calvert B. A coy Wounded by shell
5631 Pte Armitage W. R. A Coy " " "
5709 Pte Haigh W. A Coy " " "
5630 Pte Vantry(sic) H. A Coy " " "
1855 Cpl Swindon H. B Coy Wounded by bomb
3057 Pt Smith F B Coy " " "
3997 Pte Glenton G. B Coy " " "
2595 Cpl Allsopp T. D Coy Killed by T.M. (trench mortar) Buried by Capt Jones in FONQUEVILLERS CEMETRY(sic)
2026 L Cpl Scott A. H. D Coy " " "
2139 L Cpl Lowndes C. D Coy " " "
1907 L Cpl Tatton J W D Coy " " "
1953 Pte Gee F. D Coy Wounded in jaw by sniper.
1759 Pte Shackleton C. D Coy wounded in forearm by shrapnel.
[Note: Allsopp, Scott, Lowndes and Tatton were all from Keighley. Shackleton was from Sutton in Craven, just along the Aire Valley. We're not sure about 1953 Frederick Gee but it is a local name.]
Charles had served for 2 years and 207 days and died on 20th November 1916. His brother Sam Lowndes, had been killed in action on the first day of the Somme, 1st July 1916.
The Battle of the Somme was considered to be at an end two days earlier on 18th November 1916, although as we can see, the fighting at the front never really stopped.
Keighley News 2nd December 1916, page 3:
TWO 'PALS' KILLED
During the past week news has been received that two more Parkwood boys have made the supreme sacrifice. Their names are Lance-Corporal Lowndes and Lance-Corporal Tatton, both attached to the West Riding Regiment, and their parents respectively at 9 and 13, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley. It is a pathetic coincidence that they met their death instantaneously by the explosion of a trench mortar on November 20. Both young men had been comrades since boyhood, and joined the Territorials, going out to the front together in April, 1915. In the bitter defence of Ypres, fighting before overwhelming odds, they were to be found together, and during the summer they were both on leave at home, and only a few weeks ago they were promoted to non-commissioned rank. Both young fellows were of a pleasant disposition and highly esteemed. In letter to the parents of Lowndes, Lieutenant Godfrey Buxton said that “he was an efficient and courageous soldier,” and writing of Tatton, the officer said: “He showed very great promise, and was already for any job that required doing.” A brother of Lance-Corporal Lowndes – Corporal Sam Lowndes, attached to the Bradford 'Pals' was killed in action on July 1 – the first day of the 'big push.' Both the deceased men were members of St Paul's church, Parkwood, and this makes a total of four young men belonging to the church who have been killed since the beginning of July. Out of one street in Parkwood as many as nine men have been killed during the war.
Keighley News 9th December 1916:
A very impressive service was held at St. Paul's Church, Parkwood, on Sunday evening last in memory of Lance-Corporals W. Tatton and Charlie Lowndes, two members of the church, who were bosom friends, and who fell together on the field of battle in France. The Rev. G. H. Binns. M.A. (curate of this parish), conducted the service and based his sermon on "Friendship," and compared the two friends to David and Jaonathan, and he also quoted from the 2nd book of Samuel, recording the death of Saul and Jonathan - "They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." The two friends had grown from childhood to manhood together, and they had died together for their country. Mr. C. E. Bottomley, who had been the boys' teacher in the Bible class, also paid a high tribute to the dead soldiers. The church was crowded, and in the congregation was Lieutenant Lupton, who had been out in France with Lowndes and Tatton. Mrs Waterhouse sang "O rest in the Lord," and the organist played the Dead March in "Saul."
1919: War gratuity of £10, paid to his sister Lydia.
Charles is listed with 'Keighley's Gallant Sons' of volunteers who joined early on in the war.
He is remembered in the Great War Roll of Honour book in Keighley Library and on the St Paul's Church WW1 Memorial Tablet which is displayed on a wall at St Andrew's Church, (Keighley Shared
Church). His brother Sam Lowndes is also named on this memorial, as is his best pal, Willie Tatton.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.
Birth, marriage and death records.
1901 and 1911 census.
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920.
Army service records.
Keighley News archives, Keighley Library.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
National Archives war diary for 1/6th Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. WO95-2801