CUTTS, Charles William

No.17759, Private, Charles William CUTTS
Aged 29

"C" Coy., 9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Sunday, 26th September 1915

Charles William Cutts was born in 1896 (Risbridge Q3-1886 4A:623), baptised in Stradishall St Margaret's on 1st August 1886, son of Noah and Phoebe CUTTS (née DAINES).

1891 census...Aged 4, he was at How's Farm, Thurlow Road, Stradishall with his father Noah CUTTS [46] farm labourer; his mother Phoebe [42] born Denston; brothers Arthur [23] farm labourer, born Denston, Harry [14] farm labourer, and Alfred [1]; sisters Matilda [19], Maud M [10] and Ada [6]. All except his mother and Arthur were born in Stradishall.

1901 census... Aged 14, he was at Howe's Farm, Stradishall; with his parents and brother Alfred. .

1911 census... Aged 24 a farm labourer, he was still at Howe's Farm with his parents and brother Alfred (stock man). One of the 8 siblings had died.

His brother Alfred died of his wounds in France in 1916 serving in the Suffolk Regiment. see here
From their Suffolk Regiment numbers the brothers appear to have enlisted the same day as the three Chapman brothers.

He enlisted in Newmarket.

It was just 25 days after first landing in France and the untried troops were flung into a major battle at Loos. The war dairy is quite comprehensive but in summary the 9th Suffolk were the only Suffolk battalion involved in the first attack, the 1st on the 26th and the 7th on the 29th.
They were exhausted after their march to the line and had been promised 48 hours rest if circumstances permitted. Circumstance did not permit and on the 25th they advanced past the German support line before halting for the night. the 21st Division was ordered to attack again at 11 am on the 26th with the 11th Essex and 9th Suffolk in brigade support 600 yards in the rear. The order was not received until 11;25 so they were ordered to advance immediately, which they did against heavy artillery fire, reaching 200 yards past the Lens-Hulluch road, before being checked. The right flank began to give way at 5 pm but the centre held for three hours, the flanks advancing and withdrawing twice.The left came under very heavy machine gun fire from Hulluch and was forced back. This was where most of the 9th Suffolks casualties occurred.
At 7 pm a party of three officers and about 100 men were told to hold the old German second line against a counter-attack and remain until relieved. They were relieved at 2 am.

CWGC records show that 9 men from the battalion were killed on the 26th.

The Bury Free Press of 26th August 1916 recorded

The war's toll of men has been keenly felt by Mr.and Mrs.Cutts of the House Farm, Stradishall, who have recently lost two sons in the war. Prvt C.W.Cutts, of the 9th Suffolk Regiment, fell gallantly fighting in the battle of Loos on September 26th 1915, and OPrvt Alfred Cutts died of wounds received in action on July 29th last. Both young men responded to the call to arms, enlisting in one of the numerous Suffolk battalions of Kitchener's Army. In due course they were each sent to France, where they both died bravely, having done their duty nobly and well.
Writing with reference to the death of Prvt C.W.Cutts,Lieut. Seymour Church, of the deceased's unit, said :-
"Dear Mrs Cutts - I regret that I have to write to tell you your brave son was killed in action on Sunday. He died bravely,while charging at the German trenches.It may console you to know that his death was instantaneous, as I was near him when he was shot. I offer you my sincerest sympathy in your loss,and ask you to take heart, as he was a hero, dying in defence of his country".
On another occasion the officer again wrote :-
"Dear Mrs Cutts - I was please to receive your letter and feel deeply for you. There are few particulars I can give you. We were ordered to advance against the enemy at Hill 70 near La Bassee at 11:30 a.m. There were many shells falling, but the men advanced bravely up to the rifle fire. When we were about 400 yards from the enemy the rifle fire was rather bad, and we were just taking up a position behind a ridge when your brave son received a bullet in his heart. His death was instantaneous, without any pain. He was amongst the bravest of my men, and there was no one I liked better. He was always cheery, and my regret at losing him is very great. I trust his brave death will solace you in some little way.
The late Prvt Alfred Cutts had a terrible experience while in the hands of the German, from whom he escaped, "being treated in the most disgusting way" to use the words of a chaplain, who wrote to his parents before he died. We give his letter below:-
"Dear Madam, your son Alfred passed through our field collecting station to-day, having had a wonderful escape. He was wounded in the back and feet, and taken prisoner. However he managed to escape. He was treated by the enemy in the most disgusting way. However, the great thing is that he managed to get away, and is now with us receiving proper attention. He sends his love,and tells you not to worry, as he hopes soon to be home."

photo: Roy Beardsworth

Charles Cutts is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Dud Corner panels 37 and 38

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

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