OXLADE, Charles Henry Reginald

No.EC/8950, Captain, Charles Henry Reginald OXLADE
Aged 38

3rd Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 15th March 1944

Charles Henry Reginald Oxlade was born in 1906 in Colombo, Ceylon, son of Henry John Wilson and Eveline Maud OXLADE (née BAKER) of Wallingford, Berkshire.

In 1901 his parents and brother Eric were living in North Terrace, Mildenhall.

1911 census...Aged 4, he was at Colliersdown, Caterham, Surrey with his father Henry John Wilson OXLADE [42] consulting engineer, born Surbiton, Surrey; his mother Eveline Maude [39] born Bath; aunt Mildred Agnes RIACH [34] born Norwich; cousins Margaret Stewart RIACH [9] born Coonor, India and Wilfred Knight RIACH [3] born Octacamund, India

He attended Falcnbury School, Purley 1913-1921 and then Marlborough College 1921-1923 (Preshute House roll of honour).

On 8th October 1933 he left Dover for Shanghai, occupation Chinese Customs Service.He was with the Chinese Maritime Customs Service from 1926-1940

He married Jean Erskine HENDERSON (Aldershot Q3-1939 2C:1078).

His nephew David tells us that Charles sailed for China to take up his assignment with the Chinese Maritime Customs Service on 19th December 1925; in 1927 he served for 3 months with the Shanghai Volunteer Defence Corps, and joined the North Staffordshire Regiment in Calcutta on 9th Sept 1941, but was discharged 4 days later on the 13th in order to attend Officer Training School (at Belgaum, near Goa in India, one of 7 OTS operations in India at that time). He received his Commission on January 2nd 1942.
He is known to have returned home for his first home leave on 17th June 1932, returning to China by ship leaving England August 10th 1933. He would then have been 26. He married Jeanne Erskine Henderson on September 5th 1939 in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire and then returned to war in November 1939, when he then would have been away for most of the rest of their married life - he died just five years later. They had no children.

His uncle Stanley (father's brother by grandfather's first wife), a lieutenant in the ASC, was killed on the 'Transylvania' in 1917. see here

Charles and Jeanne, newly wed

The 3rd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles....Charles with Lt Cyril Dansey and 8 Gurkhas were killed this day on the Tiddim-Imphal Road, some days before the Japanese attack on Kohima where the garrison of a mere 1,200 (reinforced at the last minute) were unwittingly about to face 12,000 -14,000 Japanese.

With kind permission of his nephew David Oxlade:- Reputedly his last letter, although since it was dated some 18 months or more before his death, this seems most unlikely; conceivably it could mean the last letter that was received from him. It was sent to his father (Henry John Wilson OXLADE) through his brother Eric Robert OXLADE ("Bob"). It was dated 15 July 1942 and read.
Capt E. R. Oxlade, Minster Lovell, Near Oxford, England. from Capt C.H.R. Oxlade, 2.5 Royal Gurkha Rifles (FF), 48 Brigade, c/o Army Base Post Office, INDIA.
"Dear Bob,. I have just received an air mail from my father, and as I am not sure how long the address given - 21, Park Road, Abingdon, Berks - will remain constant, I am answering it through you in the hope that you will be kind enough to send it on to him?.
My casualty was not a very bad one though it did lead to a premature report of my death; that, however, was because I stayed behind and was cut off, and so was put down as a goner. Actually, I came back through the Nipp lines in three days, and finally reached hospital at Pegu after the usual adventures. Ten days later they operated on my arm and I then went up the Irrawaddy to Maymo, had two weeks in hospital there and returned to my battalion at the beginning of April, just in time to be hit again, in the same arm and almost the same place - and to be very nearly put in the bag again. I only escaped by some record running, easily lowering the Bde record to something like 7 seconds for the hundred yards! This second mishap, which was not serious, prompted the Brigadier to suggest a little camouflage for the said arm.
After that we had quite an enjoyable trek through Puran and gave the Nipps rather more than they could take. At Chauks, the 48th Bde - an all Gurkha Bde - together with the guns and 7th Hussars (tanks) killed some 500 Japs, our casualties being four killed and six wounded. One is not always as lucky as this however. We finally came into India intact over the Naga Hills, with the aid of the odd elephant, and very useful they were and I am actually off for civilisation tonight, with a special mission to follow.
I hope that you are very fit and that the cricket has since improved? It was very nice of you to write - let me know how you are?
Yours affectionately Rex".

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

photo from asiawargraves.com

Charles Oxlade is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, face 63

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details