No.R/378, Able Seaman, Charles William PURKIS
Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division, R.N.V.R.
Charles William PURKIS was born Helions Bumpstead n 15th April 1881 (Risbridge Q2-1881 4A:536), son of William and Mary Ann PURKIS
1891 census...Aged 9, he was at Hanchett End, Withersfield with his father William PURKIS  farm manager; his mother Mary ; brothers Samuel  farm labourer, John  and Walter ; sister Jessie . With the exception of John and Walter, who were born in Withersfield, they were born in Helions Bumpstead.
1901 census...Aged 19, a domestic groom, he was a servant at 50 Queen Street, Haverhill for Fuller CHAMBERLAIN (innkeeper). His parents (father now farm labourer, mother a trousers finisher) were at 6 Spring Cottages, Sturmer Road, Haverhill with his brother John (errand boy/porter) and sisters Annie  and Kathleen  both born in Haverhill.
He married Beatrice Gertrude INCE [18-8-1885] in St.Mary's Church on 12th August 1905.
1911 census...Aged 29, a horsekeeper at mineral works, he was with his wife Beatrice Gertrude  at 3 Spring Cottages, Sturmer Road, Haverhill with his widower father in law William Cyrus INCE  a carpenter born Sturmer; sister in law Flora Virginia INCE and Beatrice's niece Daisy Theodora INCE. His parents were still at 6 Spring Cottages, Sturmer Road, Haverhill with his sister Kathleen.
Beatrice had born 3 children but had lost all three.Charles and Beatrice were married at the St Mary’s Church on 12th August 1905. They had three children but by 1911 all had died and Charles and Beatrice were living with her parents in Spring Gardens. Charles had left his post as groom and was working as a carman at the mineral works at The Duddery. When war started Charles was 33 and he did not immediately enlist.
The pension card has his mother at 54 High Street, Haverhill. His widow was at 46 Hamlet Road, Haverhill. His father appears to have died in 1911.
He attested for the Army Reserve 17th January 1916, mobilised in the Royal Naval Division on 19th October 1916. He gave his date of birth as 15th April 1881 in Helions Bumpstead, a carman, next of kin, his wife Beatrice of 46 Hamlet Road, Haverhill. He was 5 feet 7 inches (170.2 cm) tall, chest 39" (99.1 cm) , weighed 158 lbs (71.9 kg), grey eyes brown hair, Church of England.
He was drafted to the B.E.F. on 2nd January 1917 and was with Nelson Battalion from 23rd January to 25th April when he developed appendicitis and on 29th April was evacuated to UK. Admitted to Bradford War Hospital, he died from the effects of an appendix operation and peritonitis at 8:45pm on 12th May 1917 and taken home to Haverhill for burial.
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