CWG: Sergeant Christopher Faulkner

Sergeant Christopher Faulkner

Christopher William Thomas Faulkner was born in 1881, one of five children to William and Harriet Faulkner. There is little information about Christopher’s early life, but the 1891 census shows him living with his mother and siblings in the St George’s Barracks in St Martin in the Fields in central London. William is not listed, so it can only be assumed that he was away on duty when the census was completed.

Christopher attended the military school; his record confirms that he was born on 17th June 1881, and spent four months at the school when he was ten years old. William is listed as a Sergeant and the family were living at the St George’s Barracks, which were located in the site now occupied by the National Portrait Gallery.

The military life was indelibly in Christopher’s life by this point. Whilst the records are sparse, he had certainly enlisted by the time he was 25. On Boxing Day 1904 he married a woman called Essie Brant, the daughter of a tailor from Croydon.

On the marriage certificate, Christopher was listed as a Lance Corporal in the Royal Marine Light Infantry and was based at the barracks in Chatham, Kent.

The young couple went on to have four children together and, by 1911, Essie was living in Gillingham, not far from the naval base in Chatham. The majority of Christopher’s career was served here, although when war broke out, he also saw conflict overseas.

By 1916, he was promoted to Sergeant and was assigned to HMS Dominion, which patrolled the North Sea. Ill health must have taken hold, however, and by the end of 1917, Sergeant Faulkner was reassigned to Chatham, before being medically discharged at the beginning of the following year.

Sadly, there is no record of the cause of his release from duty, but it appears to have been something to which he would eventually succumb. The next record is of Sergeant Faulkner’s death, on 5th January 1920, at the age of 39 years old.

Christopher William Thomas Faulkner lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent.

Christopher’s grave also acts as a memorial to his son.

Leslie Albert Gerald Faulkner was born on 9th June 1910. On leaving school, he sought military service like his father, and enlisted in the Royal Navy for a period of twelve years’ service.

Unusually, details of his service appear to end after just three years, in January 1929. However, later records confirm that he continued to serve at HMS Pembroke, the on-shore vessel in Chatham, through to the Second World War, achieving the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

Chief Perry Officer Faulkner’s military records did thrown up some further information, though. Surprisingly, his death records give specific details of the cause of his passing, stating that it was a “rupture of the liver due to secondary neoplasm of the liver, due to primary seminoma of testis”. In effect, Leslie had suffered testicular cancer, which then spread to his liver.

Leslie Albert Gerald Faulkner died on 28th November 1945, at the age of just 35 years old. He was buried in the same grave as his father, in Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.

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