2nd Lt
Charles Bashford

Information about birth

Date of birth:
07/02/1892
Place of birth:
Nutfield, Surrey, England, United Kingdom

General information

Profession:
Plumber

Army information

Country:
England, United Kingdom
Force:
British Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Second Lieutenant
Service number:
/
Enlistment date:
17/09/1914
Enlistment place:
Redhill, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Units:
 —  King's Royal Rifle Corps, 21st Bn. (Yeoman Rifles)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
20/09/1917
Place of death:
Lower Star Post, Zillebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
25

Memorial

Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 115

Distinctions and medals 3

1914-15 Star
Medal — 08/08/1919
British War Medal
Medal — 09/02/1920
Victory Medal
Medal — 09/02/1920

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Second Lieutenant Charles Bashford of the 21st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (K.R.R.C.), part of the 124th Brigade of the 41st Division fought in the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. On the 20th of September 1917 the 41st Division took part in the Battle of Menin Road Ridge, a stage of the Third Battle of Ypres.

Charles Bashford was born on 1st February 1892 in Nutfield, Surrey, England and had been a Fitter by occupation before the outbreak of the war. He enlisted as Private Bashford within the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 17th September 1914, aged 22 and by 17th December the same year had been promoted to Sergeant. He served with 16th Battalion until he was commissioned as Acting 2nd Lieutenant of 21st Bn. K.R.R.C. on 26th June 1917. This promotion is likely as a result of Bashford having been mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's dispatch on 9th April 1917, which was published in London Gazette 15th May.

On 6th September 1917 the 41st Division received orders for an attack on Tower Hamlet Ridge, as part of the Second Army's offensive for the Menin Road Ridge which was to be made over a stretch of 4 miles from the Ypres-Comines Canal to the Ypres-Roulers Railway. B and C company of 21st Bn. K.R.R.C. were marched to Ridge Wood, near Dickebusch, with A and D companies taking up their position at Voormezele on 18th September.

41st Division attacked at 5:40am with 3 brigades. 124 Brigade attacked with 10th Queens and 21st K.R.R.C. with 32nd and 26th Royal fusiliers in support, jumping off close to Lower Star Post, Shrewsbury Forest. The 21st Battalion, who attacked to the left of 124th Brigade, came under heavy fire almost immediately from two enemy machine guns at Het Pappotje Farm. This resulted in significant Officer casualties and disorganization within the Battalion. However by 9:25 it was reported that Het Pappotje Farm had been 'mopped up' and it was around this time that the first objective line was captured. There were again heavy casualties from machine gun fire in gaining the second objective line, just ahead of the Bassevillebeek, and those battalions which should have push passed it to the final objective had been caught up in combat so much so that by the time the second line was captured, between 11am and 12noon, the brigade was not strong enough for a full attack on the final objective. An attempt was made to storm the slope at Tower Hamlet Spur but they were brought to a halt by machine gun fire from Bodmin Road (possibly a road running from the east towards Bodmin Copse). The Brigade had to dig in considerably behind the line gained by the rest of the 2nd Army but several later enemy counter attacks were beaten off and the position was secured by the evening.

Going into the action the 21st Battalion had a strength of 19 officers and 487 men of other ranks. Casualties of all ranks totaled 282, with 44 reported missing. 2nd Lt. Bashford was among this 44, reported as wounded and missing on 20th September 1917. He retained this status until 1919 when his family conceded to agree that he must have been killed as a result of this offensive. It is likely that 2nd Lnt. Bashford died between Lower Star Post and the Bassevillebeek, following the attack his remains were either never found or could not be positively identified prior to official burial. As a result he is commemorated on Panel 115 of the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

Sources 7

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 77-80.
Sources used
"The Annals of the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Volume V: The Great War", Hare S., London, John Murray, 1932, pg. 238-241.
Sources used
"The King's Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle: 1917, Volume 4", Byron R. ed., London, Warren and Son, 1920, pg. 228-229.
Sources used
Ancestry
http://home.ancestry.co.uk/
Further reference
CWGC
https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/844246/bashford,-/
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/
Sources used
War Diary King's Royal Rifle Corps 21st Bn.
http://www.nmarchive.com/
Further reference