CWG: Gunner Charlie King


Charlie Stephen King was born in Dorset on 18th October 1888, one of six children to Stephen and Virtue King. Stephen was a painter, glazier and paperhanger from Gillingham, and this is where he and Virtue raised their children.

When Charlie left school, he also went on to become a painter, but specifically for the railways, but whether this was on the rolling stock or stations, is not certain.

In October 1909, Charlie married Bessie Imber, a postman’s daughter from Shaftesbury. The couple set up home in Gillingham, before moving back to Bessie’s home town; they went on to have three children.

War was coming, though, and Charlie enlisted in December 1915. He was not formally called up until August 1916, and was assigned a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. After initial training, he was sent to the Western Front in March 1917.

Exact details of Gunner King’s service are not available. He was certainly involved in fighting during the summer of that year, and, in September, was wounded. Evacuated back to England with a gunshot wound to his left ankle and shell shock, he was admitted to the War Hospital in Sunderland. Sadly, septicaemia set in, and he passed away on 15th September 1917, at the age of just 28 years old.

Charlie Stephen King’s body was brought back to Dorset, where he was laid to rest in the Holy Trinity Churchyard in Shaftesbury.

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