BITTEN, Charles 'Walter'


No.72764, Bombardier, Walter Charles BITTEN
Aged 24


27th Battery, Royal Field Artillery
Accidental drowning on Monday, 25th June 1916


An Old Contemptible


Charles Walter Bitten was born in Cowlinge in 1894 (Risbridge Q2-1894 4A:720), baptised in Cowlinge on 6th May 1894, son of Charles Arthur and Agnes Elizabeth Bitten (née RANSOME).


1901 census...Aged 7, he was at Lambfair Green with his father Charles Arthur BITTEN [39] farm labourer; his mother Agnes [37]; brothers Harry [11], George [9] Lawrence [6] and twins Jack and Fred [11 months] and sister Ellen [3]. All are recorded as born in Cowlinge.

1911 census...Aged 17, a farm labourer, he was at Lambfair Green with his parents; brothers George,(farm labourer) , Lawrence (a gardener's labourer), twins Fred and Jack; sisters Ellen, Edith[7] and Hilda [5] born in Cowlinge. His mother had borne 10 children but one had died.

Four brothers died in the great War, Arthur (known as Harry), Lawrence (known as Daniel) Charles (known as Walter) and George William, all are commemorated on this memorial. All of them have their given name order changed throughout their lives in civilian or Army records.


He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds and was a regular solider. Having been awarded the clasp to his 1914 Star he must have served under fire in France or Belgium between 5th August and 22nd November 1914.
His Soldiers Personal Effects file shows he drowned in the River Tigris.

The Bury Free Press of 22nd July 1916 reported :-
COWLINGE - DROWNED IN MESOPOTAMIA -
News was received on Friday that Bomb. W.Bitten, son of Mr.C.Bitten, had been accidentally drowned while serving with H.M.Forces in Mesopotamian. No further details were given by the War Office. Curiously a postcard was received from the deceased only on Wednesday week explaining that he had been ill, but had recovered, and explaining what dreadfully hot weather the troops were suffering from in that country. We are sure the greatest sympathy will be extended to his family by everyone who knew him.Mr, Bitten has three other sons serving with the forces, one of whom was wounded more than a year ago.



The CWGC headstone in Cowlinge commemorating all four brothers




Basra Memorial before Saddam Hussein had it moved, and present location

Walter Bitten is commemorated on the Basra memorial, panels 3 and 60
All four brothers are commemorated on a special memorial in Cowlinge (St Margaret) Churchyard, south of church

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details


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