Lance Corporal, 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. Service number 241267.
Charles was born on 2nd May 1894 and registered in Keighley. His parents were Edward Charles and Margaret Driver. He was baptised By Vicar David Cowling at St. Mary's Church, Riddlesden on 17th June of the same year.
In the 1901 census he was six years old and living at Larkfield House, which is on the hillside above Riddlesden (it's still there today) along with his parents and two younger sisters, Elsie aged 4 years and Edith aged 7 months. Their father Edward was employed as a fettler on worsted spinning machine manufacturing. Fettling was the job of cleaning up castings after they came out of the moulds. Fettling is still used as a term in engineering, and it means generally cleaning something up or tidying up. "It needs fettling."
Very little is known of Charles' wartime service but we know according to the newspaper, he enlisted at Leeds in November of 1915. A calculation from his war gratuity amount puts his enlistment date around September 1915 so we can reasonably estimate that he'd been in the Army for about two years before his death whilst serving with the 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. This would be a few months training before embarking for a war theatre. At the time of his death the British Army was attacking the German front lines as part of the Third Battle of Ypres, well known as the Battle of Passchendaele.
Charles was killed in action on 24th September 1917. His body has no known grave and he is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
WO-95/2866/1-3, WWI War Diary (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920
Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany's) Extract from the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders:
September 1917. (Much of this area mentioned was from the North West to the North, and to the North East of Ypres and is covered by Trench Map 28 NW. They were heading towards and area just to the South of the villages of Boesinghe and Pilckem:
1st. CANAL BANK. Battalion still in Brigade Reserve.
2nd. CANAL BANK. The Battalion relieved the 6th Seaforth Highlanders on the left of the Brigade front. B Company - right front Company, A Company - left front Company, C Company - support. D Company - reserve in MURAT CAMP.
3rd. LINE NEAR YPRES. D Company having been shelled the previous night moved up to the CANAL BANK.
4th. Taken Company Relief. D Company relieved B Company. C Company relieved A Company. B Company went into support position. A Company went to reserve position.
5th. Battalion holding line as above.
6th. Raid carried out by D Company on PHEASANT TRENCH at 7.30 am. Operation orders and Report on Raid attached. At night the Battalion was relieved by the 4th Seaforth Highlanders. 154th Bdigade.
Battalion proceeded by Platoons to DIRTY BUCKET CAMP (A.30 Central) D Company was taken in buses.
7th. DIRTY BUCKET CAMP. A.30 central.
Companies at disposal of O.C. Companies. Fighting strength 41 officers 962 Other Ranks. Chaplain the Revd. W. P. Young joined the Battalion. German aeroplanes flew over the camp dropping 4 bombs in Battalion area. No casualties. 1 officer slightly wounded.
8th. Companies at disposal of O.C. Companies.
9th. Church Parades. (2 Companies at a time)
10th. Inspection of companies in full marching order by the Commanding Officer. Armourer Sergeant inspected Rifles & Lewis Guns.
11th. A & B Companies carried out training as follows: Close order drill musketry, Bayonet fighting & Physical training. D Comapny proceeded by motor lorry for a day at ST. OMER, returning about 9 pm. Working parties were found as follows: A Company, 50 men for work at Division. C Company, 60 men for work in camp.
12th. All companies employed Barricading huts and tents. 2 parties of 4 officers and 208 Other Ranks work from 6.30 pm to 2. am (13th) on burying cable EAST of YSER CANAL BANK>
13th. Companies, complete barricading of huts. Owing to shell fire transport moves to STEENJE WINDMILL CAMP from CHATEAU des TROIS TOURS.
14th. DIRTY BUCKET CAMP. SIEGE CAMP RANGE alloted to C & D Companies for musketry training. Working parties as follows: 4 pm. to 7 pm. C & D Companies provide 2 officers and 200 Other Ranks for work on butts & new firing point. 5 am. to 11 am. A & B Companies provide 4 officers and 208 Other Ranks for work EAST of YSER CANAL burying cable.
Fighting strength: 38 officers & 883 Other Ranks.
15th. SIEGE CAMP RANGE alloted to A & B Companies for musketry training. Working parties found as follows: 9 am. to 4 pm. - 1 officer & 60 other ranks of C Company for work on Range. Companies held kit inspections.
16th. Church Services. B & D Companies provide working party of 4 officers & 208 other ranks for work burying cable EAST of CANAL.
17th. A & C Companies provide working party of 2 officers and 150 Other Ranks for work at SIEGE CAMP.
Also 50 Other Ranks (including BAND) for work in DIRTY BUCKET CAMP. Miniature Range allotted to B & D Companies for training of bad shots.
18th. SIEGE CAMP. Training area alloted to Companies Company practice attack, musketry & training of patrols. In the afternoon all runners and scouts instructed by 2nd Lt. F. W. JAGGARD on THE MODEL.
19th. Battalion moved from DIRTY BUCKET CAMP to YSER CANAL BANK, and were then held in readiness to move at half an hour's notice.
20th. CANAL BANK. Battalion Headquarters and A & B Companies moved from CANAL BANKS to CANE TRENCH (in old linear support trenches) relieving 2 companies of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who had moved up in support of 154 Brigade. Battalion came under orders of 154 Brigade. Transport lines moved from STEENJE WINDMILL CAMP to vicinity of CHATEAU DES TROIS TOURS.
21st. CANE TRENCH AND CANAL BANK. On the night 20th/21st A & B Companies moved up to Pheasant Trench in support of 154 Brigade. C & D Companies moved from CANAL BANK to CANE TRENCH.
On night 21st/22nd the Battalion relieved 4th Gordons & 4th Seaforth Highlanders in the line.
B, C & A, Companies were in the front line (B being on the right & A on the left) D Company were in support near PHEASANT TRENCH. Battalion Headquarters was at SNIPE HOUSE. Fighting strength 38 officers & 885 Other Ranks.
22nd Battalion holding the line as above.
23rd. Battalion holding the line as above. Heavy enemy shelling from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. but only a few casualties.
24th. Battalion relieved by 6th Yorks Regiment and proceeded to SIEGE CAMP.
[Note: During this period, Lance Corporal Charles Driver was killed by a shell.
The 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment's war diary reported shelling during the relief period and they sustained several casualties, killed and wounded.]
Keighley News 3rd November 1917 page 3:
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Driver, of Heights Farm, Morton Banks, have been informed that their only son, Lance-corporal Charles Driver, of the Seaforth Highlanders, has been killed in France by a shell.
He was 23 years of age and was formerly employed by Mr. A. Jackson, Springs Farm, Morton. he joined the Army in November, 1915, and had been in France since June, 1916.
Charles' mother Margaret died at the age of 53 in early 1918, which was not very long after the news of Charles' death.
In the 1921 census Charles' father Edward was living at River Cottage at Morton Banks. He was 64 years of age and living with him were his daughter Edith (now Norton) with her husband Edward Norton and their eight month old son Charles, grandson of Edward.
Because there are no Army service records available for Charles, we presume his next of kin received his personal effects, his medals and a war memorial plaque and King's certificate.
From the Soldier's Effects records we know that his father Edward was his next of kin and received Charles' outstanding pay of £6 3s. 9d. on 1st February 1918 and a war gratuity payment was also made to him on 29th October 1919, the amount being £8, 10 shillings.
Charles has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot war memorial panels. These are at Tyne Cot Cemetery, about 9 km to the North East of Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium.
He is also named locally on a war memorial plaque inside Riddlesden Memorial Institute, on Riddlesden St Mary’s Church roll of honour board, Riddlesden Primitive Methodist war memorial board and on the outside wall of Riddlesden War Memorial Institute.
He is not named in the Keighley Borough Great War roll of honour in Keighley Library.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
WO-95/2866/2/1 War diary, 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
Keighley News archives at Keighley library
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Scotland, National War Memorial Index, 1914-1945