Corporal Charles James Burrage - Military Medal 03/06/1916 for Bravery In The Field

Date of Birth 4 January 1894
Age at Death 22
Date of Death 1 August 1916
Service Number 41190
Military Service 12th Division Signal Company Royal Engineers
Merton Address 36 Amity Grove, Raynes Park
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

The Electrical Engineer’s Roll 0f Honour reveals that Charles James Burrage who was born on 4th January 1894 was the eldest son of Charles James and Jenny Chamberlain.

The 1901 Census records that 7 year old was the third child of James, who was employed as a painter and linotype operator. At the time of the Census, the family lived at 104 Florence Road in South Wimbledon.

The 1911 Census reveals that James and Jenny had been married for 18 years with the couple having had 6 children who had been born alive with one child who had died in infancy.

The Electrical Engineer’s Roll 0f Honour records that Charles James was educated at the Queen’s Road Council school in Wimbledon (1902-1906) and then at Rutlish School, Merton, Surrey (1906-1909) where he won a Surrey County Council Trade scholarship at Battersea Polytechnic, London. After completing a 3 year course in electrical engineering in 1912, he was employed by The British Thomson-Houston Company LTD of Cannon Street in August 1912.

He enlisted in the Royal Engineers on August 28th 1914; he was appointed a Lance-Corporal on March 23rd 1915. His Division was ordered to France in the spring of 1915. Continual damage was being done by the hostile artillery to the cable network provided for telegraphic and telephonic purposes at all times; in consequence, his company was kept constantly occupied on repair work and in improving the signal communications. 0n March 12th, he was promoted to 2nd Corporal, he was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in carrying out his duties during the German bombardment and gas attacks (April 22-23), when at very considerable personal risk he maintained telegraphic communication between the firing line and the Divisional Headquarters at Vermelles (London Gazette, June 3, 1916)

During an operation to capture 0villiers, he was severely wounded and removed to Dannes-Camiers where he lingered on until August 1st before dying of his injuries.

He was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery

Historical Information

During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. In September 1919, ten months after the Armistice, three hospitals and the Q.M.A.A.C. convalescent depot remained.

The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, the earliest dating from May 1915. 35 of these burials are unidentified.


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