Charles was born on 27 October 1895 in Preston-on-the-Hill. He was the seventh child of Alfred James and Annie (nee Edwards). Alfred was a boot and shoemaker from Runcorn who came to Preston-on-the-Hill in 1877, when he was bound as an apprentice cobbler to John Norman.
By 1891, he was working for himself as a boot and shoe maker and was also a rural postman. The family lived near ‘Stokesay’ in Preston Brook.
Charles was baptised on 29 December at Daresbury Church. His siblings were Alfred James (born 28 August 1884 and baptised on 25 September 1884 at the Methodist Chapel by Leo Miles), Ellen (born about 1887), William Johnson (born in 1888 and baptised on 27 May at Daresbury Church by Thomas Whitley), Dora (born about 1895), Florence (born about 1895) and Annie (born about 1897). All the children were born in Preston-on-the-Hill.
Charles attended Daresbury School and in 1911 was working as a farm labourer at Sumner’s farm. He, William, Dora and Annie were all living at home with their parents. On 24 July 1912, his brother, William, married Lucy Gertrude Walker from Preston Brook and the couple went to live in Latchford.
Charles enlisted on the 18 November 1914 following Kitchener’s call to arms in the 8th Battalion of the Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment in Frodsham, with three of his friends. They had consecutive regimental numbers. Tom Spender No.15947, John Jameson No.15948, Charles Frankland No.15949 and Ted Bassnet 15950.
After his training in Aldershot, Charles went overseas on 27 September 1915. The following March, his battalion took part in the successful attack on ‘The Bluff’ during the battle of Loos. In April, the battalion attacked ‘across a waste of sticky mud’ to recapture a series of mine craters at St Elon.
During the Somme offensive on 18 July, the battalion attacked Delville wood and fought off three German counter attacks. On 16 August, they attacked near Talus Boise and two days later attacked the German trenches at Guillemont, but this was unsuccessful. Finally, on 13 November, the attack on Serre failed as the troops tried to advance in waist deep mud.
In 1917, Charles’ battalion took part in three battles around Scarpe, the battle for Polygon Wood and the battle of Cambrai, where British tanks were used to great effect.
During the German spring offensive of 1918, Charles was badly gassed and wounded on 20 March and died two days later, aged just 22 years. He is buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery in Ficheux, south of Arras in Belgium (Grave memorial reference II G 20)
Charles was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which would all have been sent to his next of kin.