Saturday, January 5, 2008

Charles Edward Bacon

Private Charles Edward Bacon 2935, 2nd/5th Bn., [Prince of Wales Own] West Yorkshire Regiment died in Le Harve hospital France, on the 26th January 1917. He joined up in 1914 at the age of 36 and trained in Harrogate and Bedfordshire until his embarkation on the 6th January 1917.

The regimental war diary confirms, the 2nd/5th Bn stayed under canvass on the night of the 6th January 1917 and the following day, one man [Private Bacon] was taken to Quai d' Escale hospital in Le Harve, where he died at the age of 38, on the 26th January 1917. His body was laid to rest in ST. Marie Cemetery, Le Harve.

What is extraordinary about this unremarkable story, is Private Bacon's wife, Hilda, a mother of five, was escorted by the War Department, from her home in Hawes, a sleepy backwater of Wensleydale in North Yorkshire all the way to France to see my Grandfather before he died. This was at a time time when hundreds of men were dieing for their King and Country and would never see their families again.

In the book Wensleydale Remembered by Keith Taylor published in 2004, it is suggested Private Bacon died of pneumonia but was ill before his battalion set off from France and that he should not have traveled at that time. Whatever the truth about his illness and subsequent death, Charles Edward Bacon joined the army in 1914 and served his Country until his death in 1917.

It has bee recently discovered Private Charles E Bacon 2935, was awarded The British Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal 1914-1919, but sadly his wife and family never knew.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to my Grandfather who served faithfully and gave his life for his country and to his late wife Hilda Isabel Auton who struggled on to raise five young children after he died.

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