Private Charles William Hart
Reg. No. L/2800 (2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment)
Died of his wounds: 22 March 1915
Buried: Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave III. D. 51.
Charles William Hart (1894 - 1915)
Charles was born in Keysoe, although his father, William Hart (1867 - 1900), was originally from Thurleigh; Charles was living in the village at the time he enlisted. William had married Rebecca Freeman (1867 - 1930) in 1889 in Keysoe. There were six children from the marriage, born in Keysoe and Colmworth: Mary, Caroline, Charles, Albert, Joseph and Benjamin. It was not uncommon at the time for children to come along at regular two-year intervals, which is certainly the case with this family, from 1890 to 1900.
William was a blacksmith in Keysoe and their address, in the 1891 census, is given as the 'Three Horse Shoes', Brook End, Keysoe. At the time, William was able to employ an apprentice, Wilfred Smith. William died in 1900, presumably at around the time that his youngest son, Benjamin, was born. The 1901 census shows Rebecca as a 33-year-old widow, living along Keysoe Road, Thurleigh with five children under the age of 10 and in receipt of Parish Relief.
By the time of the 1911 census, the two older boys, Charles and Albert, were engaged as Farm Labourers while the younger two boys were still at school.
Charles, like several of his other village friends, enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment, serving with the 2nd Battalion. The Battalion arrived in France in January 1915 and saw action around the Ypres area. Charles was wounded at some stage in those early months of 1915 and was transferred to Boulogne, which was one of the chief hospital areas. He subsequently died from his wounds on 22 March 1915 and is buried at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. The 2nd Battalion suffered huge losses, around 80% of its original fighting force.
Boulogne Eastern Cemetery contains 5,577 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 224 from the Second World War.