Poppy Charles Victor James CASTLE (1891–1918) Poppy

Charles Castle
© Images & Voices,
Oxfordshire County Council

Charles Victor James Castle was born in Cumnor in 1891, the illegitimate son of Emily Florence Clemson. (His mother, who was born in Cumnor and baptised there on 17 August 1870, was herself the illegitimate daughter of a pedlar woman called Mary Clemson or Clempson.) When Charles’s birth was registered in the Abingdon Registration District in the second quarter of that year, he was named as Charles Victor James Clemson; and he was baptised with that name at Cumnor Church on 5 July 1891.

When Charles was three years old, on 6 August 1894, Charles’s mother married Charles Castle (born in Islip and baptised there on 13 August 1871) at Cumnor Church. He was almost certainly Charles’s father (as in 1911 the couple stated they had had only one child, and no other is apparent), and henceforth young Charles was usually named as Charles Castle.

In about 1900 the family moved to 23 Hayfield Road in St Margaret’s parish. They were there in the 1901 census, where Charles Castle senior is shown as a jobbing gardener, and Charles junior as a child of nine. He attended SS Philip & James School, and was a member of the Boys’ Club in Polstead Road.

By the time of the 1911 census Charles junior (19) had become a jobbing gardener like his father. He later worked for Messrs Bates, florists of Rose Lane.

When he was 21 Charles Victor James Castle emigrated to Canada on the Ausonia, arriving in Quebec on 7 May 1913. He settled in Brampton in the Peel region of Southern Ontario, and continued to work as a florist. His future wife Anne Louise Greenwood (24) had at the time of the 1911 census been working as a nurse and lived at 20 Buckingham Street with her parents (Benjamin Greenwood, who was a gas stoker, and Annie). She followed him out on the Andaniaine, arriving in Quebec on 30 August 1913. They were married at Brampton on 20 April 1914, and had one son.

Charles Castle joined the Canadian Army in mid-1916, and his wife Annie came back to Oxford to live with her parents at 20 Buckingham Street, Grandpont.

Poppy In the First World War Charles Castle served as a Private in the 9th Canadian Light Trench Mortar Battery (Service No. 775462). He died in France at the age of 27 on 18 August 1918. He is buried in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery (VIA.A.9), and his parents paid for the additional inscription THY WILL BE DONE on his headstone.

He is remembered on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford, and on a brass memorial plaque inside St Matthew’s Church in south Oxford

His brief obituary in the Oxford Chronicle of 30 August 1918 is shown below:

Report of death


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Charles’s widow
  • Mrs Anne Louise Castle, née Greenwood continued to live at 20 Buckingham Street, Grandpont, Oxford after Charles’s death. On 1 July 1922 at St Clement's Church, Oxford when she was aged 33 she married her second husband Henry James Hewer (34), a lodge porter of 17 Jeune Street. The birth of their daughter Kathleen H. Hewer was registered in Oxford in the first quarter of 1923.
Charles’s parents
  • Charles Castle senior died at the age of 53 in the third quarter of 1923.
  • Mrs Emily Florence Castle remained as a widow at 23 Hayfield Road until 1929, when at the age of 59 she married Henry Phipps (in the Headington registration district, but not at St Margaret’s Church).

See also

  • CWGC: CASTLE, Charles Victor James
    (where he is wrongly assumed to have come from Oxford County in Ontario rather than Oxford in England)
  • Oxford Chronicle, 30 August 1918: Photograph of Charles Castle on p. 7 and obituary on p. 8
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 25 September 1918, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of Charles Castle, who had died five weeks earlier
  • Veterans Affairs Canada, First World War Book of Remembrance (page 382):
    Charles Castle (same error as CWGC)
  • Wikipedia: Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

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