Charles Christopher Edkins

Rank Private
Service No 9397
Date of Death 07/05/1916
Age 27
Regiment/Service Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 1st Battalion
Memorial Basra Memorial, Iraq. This commemorates more than 40,500 members of Commonwealth forces who died in operations in Mesopotamia between 1914 and 1921 and whose graves are not known.

 

Charles was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1889. Nothing is known of him before 1914, except that he joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 1st Battalion some time between 1907 and 1911. At the time of the 1911 Census, he resided at Cowley Barracks. During the First World War, his home was listed as being in Marlborough Hill, Bristol.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, Charles' battalion was based in Ahmednagar, India. On 27th November 1914 it moved to Mesopotamia, arriving there on 5th December. On 29th April 1916, the battalion, numbering some 400 men, was captured after the surrender of the garrison at Kut-al-Amara. Charles died of illness, while a prisoner-of-war. 

The Siege of Kut-al-Amara (7 December 1915 – 29 April 1916) was the besieging of a British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. 70% of the British and 50% of the Indian troops died of disease or at the hands of their Ottoman guards during captivity. Only 71 of all ranks of the 1st Oxford and Bucks who had been taken prisoner returned home to the UK. James Morris, a British historian, has described the loss of Kut as "the most abject capitulation in Britain’s military history."

Charles' link to Finchley remains unknown.