CLAYDEN, Charles William

No.40159, Private, Charles William CLAYDEN
Aged 27

2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 19th October 1916 (CWGC)
presumed on Monday 23rd October on "Soldiers Died" and "Personal Effects"

Charles William Clayden was born in Steeple Bumpstead (Risbridge Q2-1888 4A:658), son of George and Elizabeth CLAYDEN (née TARVIN).

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Hardy Farm, Haverhill Road, Steeple Bumpstead with his father George CLAYDEN [45] born Hempstead; his mother Elizabeth [43] born Steeple Bumpstead; brothers George [22] horsekeeper and Walter [17] farm labourer and sisters Jane [12] and Minnie [11] all born Hempstead; brothers Frederick [6] and Thomas [4] both born in Steeple Bumpstead. There were elder sisters Kate[ 1878] and Alice [1879]

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at Endway, Steeple Bumpstead with his parents and brothers George (corn merchant's labourer) and Thomas (farm labourer)

1911 census...Aged 22, farm labourer, he was at North Street, Steeple Bumpstead with his parents; brother Thomas and niece Minnie DIMON [11] born Raynes Park, London (daughter of his sister Kate who married William Trott DIMON in 1894.)

His mother was later at Church Fields, Steeple Bumpstaead

His brother Thomas Clayden was killed serving in France in The Buffs in 1917 see here

Charles enlisted in Steeple Bumpstead.

The 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment were part of the 4th Infantry Division, which had been rested at the rear of the lines near Ypres, then in October 1916 it was returned to the Somme Battlefield to take part in the Battle of Le Transloy Ridge. On 23rd October the British continued its advanced towards Le Transloy.

On 19th October our own heavy artillery shelled the battalion, wounding 5, and on the 20th they did it again, wounding 6.

The battalion war diary has :-
Assembly trenches 23-10-16...."Assembly trenches- Zero hour 11:30 am. Zero hour postponed to 2:30 pm on account of heavy mist. At 2:30 pm assaulting troops went over the top, were immediately met with heavy First 4 waves were stopped by German front line(these waves were destined for BROWN line, an imaginary line 700 yards from our trenches and about 50-0 yards behind enemy front line) and few crossed enemy front line.
2nd 4 waves starting from assembly trenches at 2:40 pm (destined for GREEN LINE (an imaginary line about 1200 yards in front of our line) were met by heavy MG fire and a light enemy barrage. Of the two companies forming these lines only about 30 men and w Lewis guns reached BROWN LINE where they started to dig in. Receiving no support from the flanks and rear and all officers and NCOs having become casualties the remains of this party had to withdraw(left Coy 4 men, right Coy 2 Lewis guns and about 12 men). By 9 pm the whole line had withdrawn back to original (assembly) trenches. A few men held out in shell holes etc until early morning.
Casualties 5 OR to F.A. Lt M R Robertson wounded, 2 OR killed, 1 OR wounded and 1 OR missing."

CWGC have a different tale to tell, recording 114 killed of the 2nd Essex, however the war diary does have a casualty detail for the 24th which gives 3 officer wounded and 1 missing and 17 OR killed, 72 wounded and 165 missing, so it appears that overall the figures are not so different. Especially so when it appears that only 12 men have identified graves.

Charles Clayden is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 10D

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

BACK to Steeple Bumpstead home page