In Remembrance of Charlie Whiteland

Private Charlie Whiteland. No. 41467
North Staffordshire Regiment 1st Bn.
Born Jan 1899 Basford, Nottinghamshire
Died 22 June 1918 
Alsace, France

Charlie was taken prisoner on the Somme battlefield on 25 March 1918. The North Staffordshire Regiment had  fought a rear guard action against the German offensive Operation Michael. British lines were overrun on the first day, 22 March, after an opening barrage that included poison gas.

Charlie died of pneumonia three months later in a German Field Hospital, about 10-km from his final resting place in the Plaine French National Cemetery (the link states his date of death as the 20 June, but all other records confirm he died on 22 June 1918).

In 2014 I was given a memorial plaque dedicated to Charlie, a piece of military memorabilia bought from an antique’s stall. These plaques, commonly called ‘death pennies’, were given to the families of British or Commonwealth nation soldiers, sailors & aircrew killed in the Great War. 

A total of 1,355,000 plaques were issued.

In 2016, after some effort in tracing Charlie’s relatives, I was able to return his memorial plaque to his family - search details recorded here. They were unaware of the memorial plaque existence but Charlie had not been forgotten; his name was added to the list of fallen in his home town for Remembrance Day 2010 and in 2014 Charlie’s great-nephew, an author, dedicated a military puzzle book to Charlie’s memory.

Rest-in-Peace Charlie, You Are Remembered 

Truly, for some of us nothing is written, unless we write it