SHUTE Charles Ashley


Private / Sergeant – 2272/200581 – York and Lancaster Regiment
2nd Lieutenant – York and Lancaster Regiment.

Charles was born in Throckley, Northumberland in November 1895.
His father was Robert Ashley Shute and his mother, Isabella Jane.

It appears that Charles was named after his grandfather.

In 1901, the family had moved from their roots in the Northeast and were now living at Stanley Hill which is near Normanton in Yorkshire.

Robert is described as a Colliery Deputy. Charles is now aged five.

In 1911, the family are living at 14 Victoria Terrace, Outwood near Wakefield.
Father Robert is shown as being a Colliery Deputy (Underground) and Charles, by now aged fifteen is described as being a ‘Haulage Boy (below ground)’

Some time between 1911 and the outbreak of the Great War, the family moved from West to South Yorkshire and lived for a time in Deepcar which is just outside Sheffield in a house called Lowwood Villas.

Charles enlisted into the York and Lancaster Regiment at Sheffield on the 3rd September 1914 and was numbered 2272 (In the later re-numbering, he became 200581)

At this time he was 19 years old and described as being 5’ 3” tall and weighing only 112 lbs – just 8 stones. He was nevertheless considered fit for Military Service and posted to the 1/4th Battalion of the Regiment – The Hallamshire Battalion.

He remained at home until the 12th of April 1915 before being posted overseas.

On the 27th July 1915 he was appointed an Unpaid Lance Corporal before being promoted to Corporal on the 2nd of September. By the 24th October he had been made a Lance Sergeant before becoming a full Sergeant on the 20th January 1916.

He was wounded, possibly on the 1st of July 1916 and admitted to the 1st Canadian General Hospital on the 4th. He did not rejoin his battalion until the 10th of August.

He was not completely out of the wars as on the 11th of March 1917, he was wounded, this time accidentally when a Private Mason was adding wood to a fire in order to heat up the company dinners. Somehow he added a detonator to the flames with predictable results. It exploded injuring both himself and Sergeant Shute.

On the 14th of September 1916 a trench-raid was planned on the German lines opposite. This raid was led by 2nd Lieutenant Edgar Stanley Christmas.

The Regimental History states :
Lt Christmas took out his Sergeants at about 12.30am to reconnoitre. He then returned and took out his flanking parties. As soon as these were in position he fetched his raiding party and lay out about fifty yards from the German trench. He himself went a little in advance of his party with Sergeant Shute.
On the barrage starting, he found the shells falling near to him…A Verey light went up in front of him and he decided to go forward at once. On reaching the front line they found the Verey light had been sent up from the 2nd line. They found no Germans and turned to the right as previously arranged…They proceeded about fifty yards without meeting any opposition when Lieutenant Christmas was wounded and the two men near him were killed by shell fire. Sergeant Shute tried to get Lieut Christmas across the wire but finding it too thick at this point went a little further and brought him down the sap. The trench was found to be very knocked about in some places only two feet deep. Two concrete emplacements intact and two dug-outs which were blown in were entered but no-one was found. Sergeant Shute saw a communicating trench which was in a fairly good state; a block had been put up a little way up the trench…… Verey lights were being thrown up from the German Support Line….Later, on going out to bring in the wounded, Sergeant Shute reported some enemy trench-mortar fire. Casualties are estimated at, among the raiding party, one officer and eight other ranks. In the flanking party, five other ranks. The strength of the raiding party was one officer and eleven other ranks and the flanking party, fourteen other ranks.
Sergeant Shute, after taking Lieutenant Christmas to the British Line went back twice to bring in wounded and appears to have behaved with the greatest gallantry and coolness throughout.

For their work on this occasion, Lieutenant Christmas was awarded the Military Cross, Sergeant Shute the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Lance Corporal Henry Ibbotson, the Military medal.

The award of Sergeant Shute’s DCM was announced in the London Gazette dated 25th November 1916 and reads thus : For conspicuous gallantry in a raid on enemy trenches. Seven out of twelve men forming the party were wounded before the trenches were reached but Serjeant Shute accompanied his officer with the remaining men to the trenches and searched them under heavy shell fire. When the officer was severely wounded he carried him back to safety (near Thiepval 14.9.6.)

In November 1917, Charles was nominated for a commission and sent to No 8 Officer Cadet Battalion at Lichfield. He stated that he had been educated at Wakefield Grammar School under the headmastership of A. Peacock Esq M.A. This statement seems at odds with his given occupation in 1911 when aged 15 of ‘Haulage Boy (underground)’ but seems to have been accepted. It may well of course be true but this apparent conundrum has yet to be fully resolved.

Whilst at home undergoing Officer Training, Charles took the opportunity to marry Gertie Challis at Wortley in the first quarter of 1918.

He returned to the Front in late February 1918 and was attached to the 13th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment (The Barnsley Pals) It appears his time with them was relatively unremarkable although as a result of his service with the Battalion, he was awarded the Military Cross (that award later appearing in the London Gazette dated 3rd June 1919)

He was discharged in January 1919 and later, on the 1st November 1920 officially relinquished his commission.

He and Gertie had three children, Ruth born in 1919 and Charles born in 1925 and Roy born 1939. Ruth went on to marry a John Burgin in 1947 but of the son, Charles, there is no further information.

At the time of his death aged 62 on 18th September 1958 Charles was living at Truswell Road, Crookes, Sheffield. He had been employed as a civil servant in the Ministry of Insurance. His death was preceded by that of one of his sons Roy Ashley SHUTE aged 15 years on the 20th May 1944.

The family grave can be found in Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.

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His widow, Gertie died in May 1974.