7530 Corporal Charles Frederick Short, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Born on 15th February 1887 in Radbourne, Derbyshire
Died on 5th June 1919 in Luton
Charles Frederick Short was born in Radbourne, Derbyshire, the son of Charles Henry Short.
On his Marriage Register entry, Charles’ father is recorded as Charles Henry Short, deceased, a Doctor, though the name “John” is crossed out. No record of Charles with his parents has been found. However, in the 1901 Census he is shown as the 14 year old adopted son of John Henry and Elizabeth Holland of 66 Brough Road, Derby.
Charles’ Silver War Badge Record shows that he enlisted into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 15th October 1906. His Service Number was 7530.
The 1911 Census then shows that, on 2nd April 1911, he was a Lance Corporal in the 2/3rd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, at Shorncliffe Camp, Cheriton, Kent.
On 16th August 1913, Charles Frederick Short married Elsie Emily Bunn at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. Charles, 25, was a Soldier, then based at Hyde, Winchester. Elsie, 24, of Little Gaddesden was the daughter of Godfrey Goward Bunn, Coachman. Charles thus became the brother-in-law of Sidney Bunn, Walter Bunn, Godfrey Bunn and Edward Bunn. The Bunn Family lived at Home Farm Lodge and their father was Coachman to the Talbot family of Little Gaddesden House.
Charles and Elsie had a daughter, Florence, born in 1913, who died as an infant.
Charles’ Medal and Award Roll for the 1914 Star shows that, on 13th August 1914, he embarked for France with the 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. That battalion formed part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. During 1914, the battalion was then involved in the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres.
By 9th May 1915, Charles had transferred to the 3rd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. As part of the 80th Brigade, 27th Division that battalion was involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres between 22nd April and 25th May 1915. However, on 9th May 1915, Charles was admitted to No 16 General Hospital, Le Treport, France after suffering a gunshot wound to his right leg, possibly sustained at the Battle of Frezenburg Ridge on the previous day. He then remained in hospital at Le Treport until 5th June 1915, after which he returned to England for further treatment.
Charles and Emily’s son, Godfrey Charles Short was born on 5th August 1915 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 25th August that year.
On 26th February 1918, 31 year old Corporal Charles Short was discharged from the Army as the result of wounds, under Order II of 10th August 1917. He was still of military age but he had suffered disablement or ill-health as the result of wounds and was unfit for further military service. He was then awarded a Silver War Badge, no. 350072. His Service Record has not survived, but his wife’s nieces report that he lost his leg as the result of the war. For his War Service, Charles was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Charles Short is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll, his unit is recorded as The King’s Royal Rifles; on the Centenary Revision of the Roll, it is slightly amended to King’s Royal Rifle Corps. His four brothers-in-law, Sidney Bunn, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, Walter Bunn, 9th Bn Suffolk Regiment, Godfrey Bunn, The Hertfordshire Yeomanry and Edward Bunn, Royal Navy are also named on the Roll.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
After his discharge, Charles and Elsie lived at 210 High Town Road, Luton, where their daughter Edith Margaret Short was born on 18th May 1919. She was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 27th July that year. However, Charles did not live to see her baptised.
On 5th June 1919, 32 year old Charles Frederick Short died at 210 High Town Road, Luton. His cause of death is recorded as Broncho-Pneumonia from which he had suffered for 21 days as the result, his wife’s nieces say, of having contracted Influenza. The death was then registered by his aunt by marriage D (Diana) Bunn, who was present at the death.
Edith’s Baptism Register entry gives “The Lodge, Little Gaddesden” as the address, suggesting that Elsie and her children initially moved back to her parents’ home at Home Farm Lodge. However, Elsie is still shown on the Electoral Register in Luton in 1920. Electoral Roll entries then show that she then moved to Great Gaddesden in 1921, when her father became Landlord of The Cock and Bottle. She stayed there until at least 1927. However, by 1939 she and her children lived at The Brickmakers Arms, Bennett’s End, Hemel Hempstead, where she was the “House Holder”. Godfrey’s occupation is recorded as “Leap Press Worker, Moulded Hose” while Edith was a Cardboard Box Maker. Elsie died, aged 83, in 1972.
1. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register 1913
12. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813-1947
14. Copy (pdf) of the Death Certificate of Charles Frederick Short d. 5th June 1919
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson