113508 Pte. Charles Louis Ratchford


Maple Copse Cemetery

Zillebeke

Near Ieper

Belgium



Born in London, England, in August 1897, Charles signed on in August 1915, technically, according to his attestation papers, in the month of his 18th birthday.


A labourer by trade, with previous military experience noted in the 57th Regiment, Charles attested into the 8th CMR, on August 19th, 1915, in Peterborough, Ontario.


At the time of his loss, on March 23rd, 1916, the 4th CMR was serving in the front line at Sanctuary Wood, Ypres. They went in on March 20th, relieving the right battalion of the 72nd Brigade, and came out, with 4 men killed and 5 wounded, when they were relieved into Brigade Reserve by the 5th CMR on March 25th.


It is of particular note that Charles was listed as 17 years of age on his headstone, as dictated by his record held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). As such it seems probable that he lied about his age, many did, when he signed up. A moving, intimate message completes his headstone:

"Sleep On My Lovely Boy So Brave. Mother's Thoughts Are Ever At Thy Grave."


Pte. Charles Ratchford is one of 12 men of the 4th CMR known to lie at rest in Maple Copse Cemetery, near Sanctuary Wood, Ieper.






Biography excerpt courtesy of Mike Kavanagh, headstone image courtesy of 4cmr.com