Charles Harold Coleman

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Private

Service No:           201703

Unit:                      “A” Coy. 2nd/4th Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment


Charles was born in Rockhampton  Herefordshire  in 1893. He was the first child of Edwin and Annie Coleman, Edwin was a baker from Rockhampton. In 1901 the family were living at 32 York Road, Bristol. At the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 9 Clouds Hill Road, St George, Bristol. Charles was an assistant in the shop.

The 2/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion was formed at Bristol in September 1914 as a home service ("second line") unit. In January 1915 it came under command of 2nd Gloucester & Worcester Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division, at Northampton. Moved to Chelmsford in April 1915 and on to Salisbury Plain in February 1916 & landed in France on 24 May 1916. By 28 May the Division, less the Ammunition Column (which was still at Le Havre), had concentrated in the area of Merville - Gonnehem - Busnes - Thiennes. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

During 1916 The Attack at Fromelles that was the first major action in which the Division was engaged turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. An attack was made on 19 July 1916 at Fromelles, a subsidiary action to the much larger battle taking place further south on the Somme. The Division suffered very heavy casualties for no significant gain and no enemy reserves were diverted from the Somme. Such was the damage to the Division and its reputation that it was not used again other than for holding trench lines until 1917.

In 1917 The Operations on the Ancre, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. The 61st was one of the Divisions employed in the cautious pursuit of the enemy, when the Germans carried out a deep withdrawal from the area of the Somme to formidable pre-prepared positions that the British called the Hindenburg Line, in March 1917. On 17 March, it captured Chaulnes and Bapaume.

The Battle of Langemarck (16-18 August 1917). In late August and early September the Division was involved in the efforts to push the line forward at positions around Schuler Farm and Aisne Farm near Kerselaar. The German counter attacks. In late November 1917, the British Third Army made a highly successful attack, using massed tanks for the first time, near Cambrai. 61st Division was initially held in reserve and was still in the area when the enemy made a determined counterattack on 30 November. The Division was ordered up to reinforce the units under attack in the area of La Vacquerie and for some days was involved in a hard fight to stem the enemy attack.

Charles died on the 3rd December 1917.

Charles has no known grave and is “Remembered with Honour” on the Cambria Memorial, Louveral. Panel 6.

Image from by kind permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Charles was entitled to the British War Medal & Victory Medal, these may have been claimed by his next of kin.



The Long, Long Trail


UK census 1901 & 1911