Charles Doble – also known as Charlie – was born 12th September 1884, the second of seven children to James and Mary Ann Doble from Dunkeswell in Devon. James was a carpenter, but on leaving school, Charles initially found work as an errand boy, before becoming employed as a porter at the Taunton and Somerset Hospital.
The 1911 census found Charles in the village of Cotford St Luke, working as an attendant at the Somerset and Bath Asylum. Housing more than 800 patients at the time, it is reasonable to assume that his duties would have been wide and varied.
Details of Charles’ military service are scarce. He enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment as a Private in April 1916, but soon transferred over to the 13th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
In the spring of that year, Charles married Ethel Willmott; presumably this was before he was sent abroad, because he soon found himself on the Western Front.
His battalion was caught up in the Battle of the Boar’s Head, during with the Royal Sussex Regiment succeeded in capturing a section of the German front line trench and second line trench, before being pushed back because of mounting casualties and a lack of ammunition.
It seems likely that Private Doble was one of those injured on what became known as The Day Sussex Died, as he was evacuated back to England for treatment. Admitted to a military hospital in Stourbridge, sadly his wounds proved too much for Charles to bear; he passed away on 13th December 1916, at the age of 32 years old.
Charles Doble’s body was brought back to Taunton, and he was buried in the St James’ Cemetery in the town.