C G HEMSTOCK
Charles Gordon Hemstock was baptised at Christ Church Belper on 15th August 1892.
His parents were Charles Frederick a clerk and his wife Sara Elizabeth. According to the baptism register they lived in the St Matthias district of Nottingham, this could possibly refer to St Matthias road or that they lived in St Matthias church parish.
There are not any school records online for Charles and the next entry is the 1901 census.
The family were living at Gotham which is South of Nottingham just over the border with South Derbyshire. It was a small village with, in 1901, 1009 inhabitants. (http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/NTT/Gotham)
Charles has two siblings, a sister Agnes and a brother Frank. Charles seniors job is listed as a Merchants Clerk.
In 1908 Charles senior sadly died in Mickleover Asylum, he had been an inmate there since 1902. He is buried at Newbold, at some point after the 1901 census the family must have moved to the Chesterfield area, sadly I am unable to confirm why or when. Charles, Agnes and Frank lost their father when they were quite young but in 1910 Sara remarried. Her second husband was Edward Harle from Old Whittington and they married at Old Whittington church. Edward was a widower and worked as a steel worker. The family lived at Swanwick Street Old Whittington.
By the time of the 1911 census Charles is working as a clerk (following in his father’s footsteps) and he now has two older step brothers John and James Harle. His sister and brother are both working even though his brother is only 14!
Charles enlisted in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards Service no 15804. Unfortunately Charles’s records are not available and were probably destroyed with many others in 1940 when a German bombing raid struck the War Office repository.
We do know from his medal card that he was sent to France on 21st December 1915.
The 1st Battalion became part of the 2nd Guards Brigade on 25th August 1915.
In 1916 the Guards Divisions took part in:
The Battle of Albert
The Battle of Bazentin
The Battle of Pozieres
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th September – 22nd September 1916)
Charles was killed in action on 15th September 1916, he was 24 years old. Given the date and location of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette I think it is a good possibility that Charles was killed during this battle.
Flers-Courcelette is known as being the first battle of WW1 where tanks were used. A full report can be read here
Charles is one of many men whose bodies were never found, and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. Full details of Thiepval can be read at
The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.
An entry in the Derbyshire Courier 14th October 1916 reports:
“News has just been received from the War office by Mrs Harle 54 Foxley Oaks Old Whittington, of the death of her son, Lance-Corpl. Chas. Gordon Hemstock, who was killed in action at Ginchy on 15th Sept. He enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in March 1915, and went over to France in December, participating in much hard fighting. Prior to enlistment he was a clerk in the employ of the Dalton Main Colliery Co. An impressive memorial service was held on Sunday at the Old Whittington Church, where previous to his going away he was a Sidesman and a Sunday School Teacher”.
From the report it sounds as though Charles was a much liked and respected member of the community.
Charles’s grave registration below shows that at some point he was promoted to Lance Corporal. His mother has moved since the 1911 census and is living at Church Street Old Whittington.
However, the newspaper report indicates that she was living at Foxley Oaks at the time of Charles death. Foxley Oaks was the area towards Newbridge Lane.
Charles’s medal card confirms the date he arrived in France and that he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 14/15 Star.
Charles is remembered on Old Whittington and the Brushes War Memorials.
Charles mother, Sarah continued to live in Whittington and in 1939 was listed as living at Old Whittington with her husband Edward, now retired. Sarah died in 1949.
His sister Agnes was married in 1919 to Herbert George Johnson from Whittington. In 1939 Agnes was living at Old Whittington with Herbert.
Charles brother Frank married Elsie May Manknell in 1922 at Old Whittington church. In 1939 Frank was living at Old Whittington and was working as a civil service clerk.