Charles Thompson YORK was born in the village of Finedon, Wellingborough, Northants in 1894. One of several children he would move to Yorkshire with his family and settle down to life as a coal miner. The 1911 census shows us that he and his family were living at 87 Masbro Street Rotherham. He was at this time a pit hand at the Roundwood Colliery.
On 31st August 1914 Charles took a trip to Pontefract and there enlisted for service with the 8th Battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment and was allotted service number 13315. At this time his given address is 15 Chapel Walk, Masbro, Rotherham.
On the 27th August 1915 Charles entered France with his battalion.
The 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment would play its part in the Somme offensive of the 1st July 1916 and it is here that Charles is wounded for the first time receiving shrapnel wounds to his right hand on the 2nd July. The battalion had advanced from Authille Wood in the assault on Ovillers. They were immediately met by heavy machine gun fire killing and wounding most of the men. Very few reached the German line but those who did fought gallantly until either killed or captured. Very few men would return. The 2nd July the survivors spent resting and recovering in camp so were not engaged in any action. Thus it is safe to say that Charles wounds were attracted during the assault of the 1st July and recorded on the 2nd. He was evacuated for treatment at the 18th General Hospital, Carniers.
He was back in the field by the 11th July 1916 but very soon again wounded on the 23rd July 1916 suffering contusions to the forehead and shell shock. This would be his last action with the 8th battalion as on the 7th August 1916 he was transferred to the decimated ranks of the 12th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, The Sheffield Pals who had been so badly mauled at Serre on the 1st July.
On the 8th February 1917 he was again wounded, undisclosed wound. He was evacuated again via the 94th Field Ambulance to the 29th Casualty Clearing Station and onto the 5th General Hospital at Rouen. He was then transported back to Blighty on Hospital ship Glenart Castle on 26th Feb 1917. On the 5th March 1917 he is admitted to the Military Hospital at Haxby Road, York where he remains until the 13th April 1917 having been treated for Synovitis of the right knee.
He is then transferred to the 1/4th Hallamshire Battalion the York and Lancaster Regiment on the 8th July 1917. Again he is wounded on the 20th October 1917 when he suffers mild concussion.
In March 1918 the Germans launch their famous Michael Offensive pushing the British back over hard gained territory. Over the period of 11th April 1918 – 19th April 1918 during the second phase of the Michael Offensive the British were starting to recover from the shock and trying to hold ground where they could. The 1/4th York Lancs where in the area of Bailleul and heavily involved in the frantic efforts to stop the Germans. During this period Charles was to be awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. The award is mentioned in the war diary of the 22nd May 1918.
An article would appear in the Rotherham Advertiser.
The award of the Military Medal would appear in the London Gazette on 26th August 1918.
On the 1st November 1918 the 1/4th York Lancaster were involved in operations around the area of Valenciennes and it is here that he would again gain recognition for bravery being awarded the bar to the military medal. The book by D.P GRANT which details the history of the 1/4th Hallamshires tells us how Charles was to earn his bar:-
Corporal YORK was sent with his platoon, after his platoon officer and Sergeant had become casualties, to reinforce a front line company. ” He handled his men skilfully, enabling the company to advance further. He showed such utter disregard for his own personal safety under very heavy M.G. fire that he inspired his men to follow him for a long distance. ”
Again he would be mentioned in the Rotherham Advertiser.
On the 30th November 1918 he is hospitalised with flu! Most likely the Spanish Flue which accounted for so many lives at that time. YOU CANT KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN THOUGH.
He would see out his service with the 1/4th York Lancs eventually being transferred to the reserves on the 21st January 1919.
The award of the Bar to the M.M. would appear in the London Gazette on 17th June 1919.
Charles passed away at Rotherham in December 1959.