POWELL, Charles Albert

No.G/26369, Private, Charles Albert POWELL
Aged 25

3rd/10th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Killed in Action on Thursday, 4th October 1917

There is one Charles POWELL, of the Essex Regt and named on the war memorial in Beck Row but not recognised by CWGC (insufficient evidence available to rectify this) and this Charles Albert POWELL of the Middlesex Regt is recognised by CWGC, named on his parents grave in Beck Row.

Charles Albert Powell was born in Mildenhall (Mildenhall Q1-1892 4A:783) baptised 10th March 1892, son of James and Esther POWELL (née MORLEY). Previously the family name had been MORLEY-CURTIS. His mother was Esther Morley when she married his father in Q2-1891

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at Kenny Hill Farm with his grandfather Joseph MORLEY [64] farmer; his grandmother Rhoda [61] and their 4 sons (Walter, Jarman, Herbert and Ernest, and 3 daughters Isabella, Eliza and Alice. All were born in Mildenhall. His father James POWELL [37] was horsekeeper on the farm,at the Kenny Hill Cottages with his mother Esther [39], twin brothers james Arthur and Robert Nelson {7}, twins Sydney and Walter [6]; sister Jessie Alice [2] and brother John Edgar [8 months] all born in Mildenhall.

1911 census...Aged 19, he was at Kenny Hill House, working on grandfather's farm with widower grandfather Joseph and aunt Isabel and uncles Herbert, Walter, Jarman, Robert, Ernest and Arthur. All were working on the same farm. His parents were still at The Cottages, Kenny Hill with Arthur, Sidney,Walter (farm labourers) and Edgar John [10] and sisters Jessie Alice and Ivy Helena [7]. Ether had lost 3 of their 10 children, which would appear to be Robert (1893-1901), Vernon (1896-1897) and an unamed infant in 1902.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds, initially in the 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment

The 3rd/10th Battalion were a Territorial Battalion and this was their first big battle of the war. They were in the Langemark -Poelcappelle area, the Broodseinde Ridge offensive and it had rained heavily on 1st and 2nd October. The battalion war diary:-
"On the night of 3/4 Oct the battalion left camp to take part in the attack NE of LANGEMARK on the day of 4 Oct and moved to their new HQ at AU BON GITE and was detailed as the counter attack battalion. The battalion was in support to 2nd Seaforths who were the attacking battalion, the two forward Coys B and C coming under the orders of the OC 2nd Seaforths from zero hour on the 4/10/17. 2 Platoons of B Coy being detailed as left flank guards and to keep in touch with the Dublin Fusiliers.
The attack was made on a battalion front and the 10th Brigade objective was roughly 19 metres hill map reference BRUEMBEEK 1/10,000 V.18.0 The starting point was 100 yds north of EAGLE TRENCH, the 11th Brigade were on our right and the 86th Brigade on our left. The battalion arrived at the piont of assembly without incident. At 6 am (zero hour) on the 4.10.17 our artillery barrage started and the two leading Coys B and C moved forward to EAGLE TRENCH followed by D and A Coys about 8 am. B.H.Q started to move forward to EAGLE TRENCH and had not gone more than 300 yds before the C.O. was knocked down by a splinter from a shell and Lt H.K Smith, the battalion Intelligence Officer was wounded in the wrist by a shell. B.H.Q found it impossible to move forward owing to the intense barrage. After the CO had recovered from the knock out blow BHQ moved to EAGLE TRENCH where the OC Seaforths had returned from KANGAROO TRENCH that trench owing to our barrage being non ext. {?}
OC Seaforth informed CO 3/10 Middlesex that the whole of his battalion had been absorbed in the attack. The enemy kept an intense barrage on EAGLE TRENCH 4th and 5th Oct and it was almost impossible to move, a lot of stretcher cases were killed here coming down with their bearers. At about 2:30 pm the 4th, the CO required reinforcements as messages were continually received from the Company Commanders that their left was in the air, our left having failed to come up to the line. The 1st Royal Warwicks arrived at about 4pm on 4/10./17 and filled up the gap in the line with the 2nd line of the 11th Brigade and later pushed forward and got in touch with the remainder of the 2nd Seaforths and 3/10 Middlesex. "

The battalion went into action with 30 Officers and 492 other ranks, but on 4th/5th October they had suffered 12 officer casualties and 365 other ranks. According to CWGC this attack had cost the 3rd/10th Middlesex 85 killed on the 4th October, Charles Powell was one of only 16 who have identified graves, the rest are named on the Tyne Cot Memorial

The Bury free Press of 2nd February 1918 reported:-

We learn that Mr.and Mrs. James Powell,Kenny Hill, Mildenhall are very anxious about their son, 26369 Prvt Chas. A.Powell, 3/10th Middlesex Regiment, who is reported missing from his regiment since Oct.4th 1917. The parents state that since that date no news has been received concerning their son, and they now appeal to any comrade or other person who may know something about him to communicate such information to them.

family stone in Beck Row Methodist Church graveyard
on right of path (one row in from path)

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Charles Albert Powell is buried in Cement House Cemetery, Belgium grave 14:A:16
and commemorated on the grave of his parents in the Methodist Churchyard, Beck Row and originally on the Mildenhall memorial

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