Charles Pretoria Criddle was born on 18th June 1900, the second of five children to Charles and Mary Criddle. Charles Sr was an army reservist, who worked as a labourer for the local council, and the family lived in Taunton, Somerset.
Sadly, little detail of Charles Jr’s life is documented. The Great War broke out when he was only 14, so was too young to enlist at the beginning of the conflict. However, he did volunteer, albeit later on, and joined the 15th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment at some point in 1918.
Private Criddle’s was one of those lives to be cut tragically short, not by conflict, but by illness. He survived the war, but was subsequently admitted to a military hospital in Brighton, Sussex, where he passed away ‘from disease’ on 7th November 1919. He was just 19 years of age.
Charles Pretoria Criddle lies at rest in the St James Cemetery in his home town of Taunton, Somerset.
Tragedy was to strike again for Charles Criddle Sr. Less than a week after his son had passed, he was called upon to identify the body of his sister, Emma Cable. She had taken her own life after suffering an increasing number of fits over the previous few years.
Emma was a widow, and, since the previous winter, had become increasingly depressed and less physically able, having suffered a debilitating bout of influenza. Early on the morning of Sunday 16th November 1919, she took herself out, dressed in only her nightgown and a pair of boots, and had drowned herself in the River Tone.
At the inquest into her passing, her doctor noted that he had seen her on the previous Thursday “but her condition was not such that he could certify her as insane, but she had been violently hysterical.” [Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser: Wednesday 19th November 1919]
The Coroner recorded a verdict that the deceased drowned herself while of unsound mind.
Emma Cable was 52 years old.