CWG: Private Charles Hide

Private Charles Hide

Charles Arthur Hide was born on 14th July 1897 and was the son of Ellen Edith Hide. The 1901 census found Charles living with his mother and her parents in the West Sussex village of Clapham. When Ellen’s father James died in 1909, local hurdle maker Alfred Daniels took her, Charles and her mother in as lodgers. Ellen subsequently married Alfred in 1916.

Charles, by this time, had left school and found employment with the railways. He started work on 22nd April 1913, earning 14s per week (around £55 a week in today’s money) as a porter at the station in Hove.

When war broke out, however, Charles felt the need to do his duty. He resigned from his job on 13th November 1914, and enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment as a Private. Charles was not alone in this: the employment records for Hove Station show that a number of other porters also handed in their notice around the same time.

Assigned to the 11th (Service) Battalion (also known as the 1st South Downs), Private Hide was initially based near Bexhill. His troop was then moved on, first to Maidstone in Kent, then to Aldershot, Hampshire. Whilst the battalion as a whole were shipped to France in 1916, there is no evidence that Charles went with them, and it seems that he may have served his time on home soil. Wherever he was based, he was awarded the Victory and British Medals for his time in the army.

At this point, details of Private Hide’s life become sketchy. He is only mentioned in one further document – the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects – which confirms that he passed away at a military hospital in Epsom, Surrey, on 26th March 1917, although no cause is given. He was just 19 years of age.

Charles Arthur Hide’s body was brought back to Sussex for burial. He lies at rest in the quiet graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in his home village of Clapham.


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