Title - Charles Stonehouse

Charles StonehouseCharles (Charlie) Stonehouse was born on 15th May 1882 in Blackburn, the son of Francis and Mary Ann Stonehouse. An architect by profession, he enlisted in the Accrington Pals on 17th September 1914 as a Private with the regimental number 15360. [Attestation paper] Stonehouse was promoted to L/Corporal before being appointed to a commission with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 18th January 1915. He was further promoted to full Lieutenant on 20th June.

Left: Charles (Charlie) Stonehouse

On 1st July 1916, Stonehouse led a platoon of "W" Company into the battalion's attack on Serre. According to an eyewitness statement by 20939 Fred Whitesmith, Stonehouse was near the enemy's trench when he was hit in the wrist. His orderly, 15216 Roland Banks, was killed while binding up his wound and Stonehouse himself was afterwards hit in the head and killed.

Previous headstone New headstone

Above: Previous headstone on graves B.23 and B.24 in plot 1 of Serre Road Cemetery No.3. reading "ALSO AN UNKNOWN LIEUTENANT OF THE GREAT WAR, EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT". Above: New headstone on graves B.23 and B.24 reading "LIEUTENANT C STONEHOUSE, EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT, 1ST JULY 1916, AGE 34, ARCHITECT, KILLED IN ACTION, HIS NAME WILL EVER BE HELD IN PROUD REMEMBRANCE".

Charles Stonehouse is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for the reason that he had no known grave. In fact, he was the only full Lieutenant of the Accrington Pals killed at Serre whose corpse remained unidentified after the war. There was, however, only one grave in the Serre cemeteries that was recorded as being that of an unknown Lieutenant of the East Lancashire Regiment: grave B.24 in plot 1 of Serre Road Cemetery No.3. In 2017, the Ministry of Defence accepted the author's evidence that Charles Stonehouse is buried in this grave, and a rededication service took place on 3rd July 2018.

Rededication service, 3rd July 2018

Rededication service at Serre Road Cemetery No.3, 3rd July 2018. Twelve family members travelled from Britain to take part.

© Andrew C Jackson 2000, 2008, 2018

Compiled from TNA document WO339/22597, CWGC records, and the Quarterly Army List for September 1915.

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