Charles Edwin FOULKES
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 19387
Unit: 21st Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 17 September 1916
Age: 27
Cemetery: St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

Charles was one of the nine children of Charles and Elizabeth Foulkes and their eldest son. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 19 Derby Range, Heaton Moor (later moving to 11 Cambridge Street, Heaton Chapel).

Nothing is known of his early life other than he worked for a local ironmongers - Thomas Blagg, 6A Heaton Moor Road and that he enlisted into the army in November 1914. He travelled into Manchester to join the sixth of the "Pals Battalions" being formed by the Manchester Regiment and he was assigned to No. 13 Platoon, "D" Company. Details of the recruitment and training of the Pals can be found here.

Charles died in a military hospital having been wounded in action. As such, it cannot be said with certainty when he was injured, although it is most likely to have been some time during their last few days in the front line.

On 29th August, they moved from camp near the Somme village of Montauban, relieving the 20th Manchesters in the front line near Delville Wood. "A" and "B" Companies occupied the front line, with "C" and "D" in support. Over the next couple of days, the trenches were deepened and improved and the men also started to dig a new front line trench. There was enemy shelling at intervals throughout this time. On 1 September, they were relieved by the 22nd Battalion and withdrew to reserve positions in Pommiers Trench.

The next day, 250 men formed a carrying party, bring up trench mortar ammunition. The History records "This party suffered 20 casualties through the bursting of an aerial torpedo." On the 3rd, they were back in the forward area at Montauban Alley. "During the afternoon, a bomb store in Bernafray Wood was blown up by a shell whilst "C" Company was drawing bombs which resulted in several casualties."

During the afternoon of the 4th, the Battalion's specialist grenade throwers attempted a small scale attack on the German positions in Ale Alley. This was supported by fire from "A" and "C" Companies. The History reports this was a failure and that there were, again, several casualties.

The Battalion was relieved back to camp at 2.40am on the 5th and was not in action again until after Charles was dead.

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