CWG: Pioneer Charles Churchill

Pioneer Charles Churchill

Charles Churchill was born towards the end of 1883, in the Somerset village of West Chinnock. One of six children, his parents were Isaac Churchill and his wife Elizabeth. Isaac was an agricultural labourer, and the family lived in a cottage on Eastfield Farm, where he worked.

When he left school, Charles also found work on the farm. He knew the owners well and, in 1909, married their servant, Ellen Mary Young, in the parish church. The couple moved in with Ellen’s widowed mother, Harriet, and went on to have two children, Florence, born in 1909, and George, who was born three years later.

By this time war was on the horizon. Full details of his military service are not available, but it appears that Charles initially enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He subsequently transferred to the Labour Corps, before being reassigned again to the Royal Engineers.

There are no dates available for the transfers, so it’s impossible to know how quickly they took place. Charles’ record shows that he was awarded the Victory and British Medals while in the Royal Engineers, however, so it is likely that he spent most of his time in this regiment.

The medal record also confirms that Pioneer Churchill did not serve in a theatre of war, so would have spent his time on home soil.

Sadly, this is where information on Charles seems to dry up. He survived the war, but contracted pneumonia late in 1919 and passed away on Christmas Day that year. He was just 36 years of age.

Charles Churchill was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in his home village of West Chinnock, the place where he and Ellen had been married ten years earlier.

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