Charles Osborne Harvey

Rank Private
Service No 45644
Date of Death 16/05/1917
Age 41

The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 15th Company. Transferred to (73446) 123rd Company Labour Corps. 

Cemetery Wanquentin Communal Cemetery Extension. The cemetery is some 12kms west of Arras, France. The extension to the local cemetery was begun at the end of November 1916.


Charles was born on the 25th January 1876 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire and baptised at St Mary’s Thornbury, on 5th March 1876. His parents were Henry (b.1850) and Sarah Harvey (b.1848). He had one sibling, a brother named Alfred (b.1874).

Upon leaving the parental home, Charles moved to 1 College Terrace, Finchley, and found employment as a gardener. Charles married Bessie Louisa Fry (b.1880) in 1905 and they moved into 28 Lichfield Grove, Finchley. At the time of the 1911 census they were still living at this address and had no children. His occupation is listed as ‘jobbing gardener’. Upon the birth of their son, Harold (b.1913), the family moved to 105 Lichfield Grove.

Charles was conscripted to the reserves on 26th February 1917, aged 41, and his papers list him as being 5 ft 5 in and 120lbs. He was deployed on 14th March 1917, and killed at Boulogne on 16th May of that year.

Latterly, Charles served in the Labour Corps, which was manned by officers and other ranks who had been medically rated below the "A1" condition needed for front line service. Labour Corps units were often deployed for work within range of the enemy guns, sometimes for lengthy periods. The Corps always suffered from its treatment as something of a second class organization.

The July 1917 monthly magazine of St Luke’s Finchley lists Charles’ death in the Roll of Honour, saying that he was killed ‘through shell explosion ... Charles leaves behind him a wife and one small boy. He early joined the labour battalion for France’.