Charles Greenhalgh was born on 1 August 1888, in Bolton, Lancashire. We cannot be sure who his parents were, but he had at least one sibling – Amelia, b1886.
The 1901 census records that he was living with his grandfather, John Fryer b1838 in Helsby, who was farming at Wharford Farm, Norton. Amelia was also living with the family.
On 4 April 1906, Charles enlisted into the Royal Navy Royal Marine Artillery as a private. In December 1907, he was promoted to gunner. He served on HMS Natal and Goliath and at various coastal battalions.
On 17 August 1910, Charles was demobilised from the RMA but put on the Royal Fleet Reserve.
Soon afterwards, Charles went to live with his uncle, John Thomas Fryer, b1874. In 1911, he was farming at Keckwick Farm and Charles was working for him as a stockman. Towards the end of his military service, Charles gave his uncle’s name as being his next of kin.
On 2 August 1914, Charles re-enlisted with the RMA, service number 11713, just five days after war was declared. He served on HMS Cyclops and Royal Arthur and was also stationed at coastal battalions.
On 11 May 1917, he was engaged with an enemy submarine on the ‘Defensively Armed Merchant Ship’ San Onofre. The tanker, carrying fuel oil from Mexico to Queenstown, was off the west coast of Ireland when it was attacked and sunk by U-48 Karl Edeling. One member of the crew was killed. A special notation was recorded in Charles’ naval record for the part he played. Two others from the crew were similarly mentioned.
Long Service and Good Conduct medal
Charles was finally demobilised on 11 April 1921. He was awarded the British Royal Fleet Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
After his return to civilian life, Charles married Winifred Stimson in Oakham, Rutland in 1925. They had two children, Charles W b 23 April 1926 in Wilton, Wiltshire and Peter H b1929 in Oakham. In 1939, the family was living in Homestead Cottages, Bellesden, near Burton-on-Trent, where Charles was a farm labourer.
We cannot be certain when he died.