Tuesday, January 13, 2015

204321 Private Charles Godward, South Staffordshire Regt

According to his surviving Territorial Force attestation papers (Army Form E.501), Charles Godward was born at Southwater, Horsham, Sussex in about January 1893.  I could however, find no evidence of his birth on either the 1901 census return or the England and Wales civil registration index (1837-1983). 

Employed by The Reverend Theodore Harry Lee Jellicoe of Chailey as a groom and gardener, Charles Godward volunteered with the Royal Sussex Regiment at Brighton on 10th August 1914.  He gave his address as North Common, Chailey, stated that he was unmarried and previously belonged to the boy scouts.  He gave his age as 21 years and seven months and it was noted that he was five feet six and a half inches tall, had good vision and good physical development and was considered fit for the army. 

He was embodied in the 1/6th Sussex (Cyclist) Regiment on 10th August 1914 as 595 Private Charles Godward.  This was a territorial unit which had been formed four days previously at Montpelier Place, Brighton and which, between August 1914 and the end of 1915 would be stationed at Norfolk and attached to the 1st Mounted Division.  On joining the battalion, Charles Godward also certified that he was “able and willing to provide myself with a bicycle during my period of service as cyclist in the Cyclist Battalion” 

In October 1914, Chailey Parish Magazine noted that he was serving his King and Country and Charles Godward then spent the next fourteen months with the 1/6th Sussex before being posted to the 2/6th Battalion on 3rd December 1915.   

The 2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion TF had been formed at Brighton in November 1914 and between August and September 1915 it was attached to the 68th Division at Bedford.  In November 1915 it was moved to Chiseldon where it was converted to infantry.  On 4th February 1916 the battalion sailed from Devonport To India with the 1/9th Hampshire Regiment, 1/25th London Regiment and 1/1st Kent Regiment, these four battalions forming a brigade which had originally been intended for East Africa. 

Godward remained in India until 2nd September 1917 when he returned home sick.  He was discharged from the army on 10th November 1917 and issued with silver war badge number 313197 on 16th January 1918.  His total reckoned service amounted to three years and 93 days. 

On his King’s Discharge Certificate, sent on 25th November 1918. Godward’s address is given as The Cottage, Worthing Road, Southwater, Horsham, Sussex and his next of kin given as his mother, Mary Anne Godward, at the same address. 

His cause of discharge was noted as tubercule of the lung; a condition which had been aggravated by his war service. He was awarded a weekly pension of 27 shillings and sixpence. 

At some point, Charles Godward must have transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment as this detail plus a new number – 204321 – is noted on his discharge certificate and his medal information card held at Kew in London.

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