Upper Beeding’s first casualty of the Great War

Charles Groves' former home, Dunville Cottage, now called Candytuft, in Upper Beeding High Street
Charles Groves' former home, Dunville Cottage, now called Candytuft, in Upper Beeding High Street

Sergeant Charles Groves

1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Charles was born in Upper Beeding about the end of 1884 or early 1885, the son of William and Ellen Groves of Upper Beeding.

He was baptised at Beeding Church on January 18, 1885.

The 1891 census lists him as a scholar, aged six, living at Dunville Cottage (now Candytuft) in the High Street, with his father, who was a widower, two brothers and two sisters.

His father died in in 1900 and the 1901 census shows Charlie living at Dunville Cottage, a 16-year-old apprentice civil engineer, with three of his older siblings.

The 1911 Census shows him serving in the army as a 26-year-old Lance Corporal, having enlisted in Steyning.

By the outbreak of war, in 1914, he had been promoted to Sergeant.

He was one of the earliest British soldiers to go overseas, arriving in France on August 13, 1914.

Sadly, less than a month later, he became the village’s first casualty of the war, dying of wounds on Sunday, September 6, 1914.

Charles was buried in Frameries Communal Cemetery, Frameries, Hainaut, Belgium.

He was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.