William Charles Kent (1895 - 1918) Regimental No. 201293

Charles (as he was known) was born 23rd December 1895 in Haydon, North Swindon, although his father was from Wanborough and his mother from Bishopstone. The family had moved back to Church Rd Wanborough by 1899 and Charles and his family moved around locally (Coate and Chiseldon) as his father pursued his job as a farm labourer.

Charles was also a farm labourer in 1911 and by 1915 he was working at Nythe Farm as a milker, still living with his family. He signed up on 9th December 1915 and was mobilized in March 1916 in the Durham Light Infantry, 15th Battalion, part of 21st Division, 64th Brigade. He took part in a number of battles around the Somme.

The German army launched the 1918 Spring Offensive as a series of attacks along the Western Front beginning on the 21st March 1918 at the Somme (Battle of St Quentin). The artillery bombardment began at 4.40am and hit targets over an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war. Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours and by the end of the first day, the British had lost 7,512 men, including Charles (and Edgar Hinton) who was injured that day, dying two days later aged 22.

Charles is commemorated on Panel 68 to 72 of the Pozieres memorial, in Ovillers-la-Boisselle, France. He was buried with his sister and father in St Andrew's churchyard, Wanborough.

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