Private Charles Clifford Pugsley

Date of Birth c. 1897
Age at Death 19
Date of Death 5/10/1916
Service Number 4393
Military Service "A" Company, 2nd Battalion, London Regiment
Merton Address 81 Alexandra Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

Charles was born in 1897 in Wimbledon to parents Herbert William Pugsley and his wife Marian.
His father Herbert worked as a civil servant and at the time of the 1911 census was a 2nd Division clerk at higher grade in the admiralty. The family lived at 81, Alexandra Road in Wimbledon.
Charles had 4 brothers, all younger. Only his next nearest brother served in the First World War, joining the navy in 1917 at the age of 18.
A younger brother, Alfred became a structural engineer, initially involved in flight, helping develop the R101 airship, and then worked on wing behaviour in aircraft. He was later heavily involved in the design of suspension bridges, was the author of several books, and was awarded the OBE and Knighted in 1956.
Charles went to St. Georges College in Worple Road before attending Rutlish School from 1910 to 1914. He then studied for the civil service exams until these were suspended in the summer of 1915. He worked for the Admiralty for a short time before joining the army 1916, opting for the Civil Service Rifles. Its official title was the 2nd/15th Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles, part of the London Regiment.
This Battalion was formed at Somerset House in 1914, and there was a statue unveiled in 2014 outside Somerset House facing the Thames, commemorating those soldiers sacrificed in the Great War.
Charles joined in June 1916, at which time the battalion was returning from security duties in Ireland, connected to the Irish Rebellion. They sailed for Le Havre on 23rd June and were soon involved in the battle of the Somme in the area between Arras and Vimy Ridge. On 29th July his company took part in a successful raid, capturing 2 prisoners and useful papers. Lettrers from his comrades said he distinguished himself during the raid, by being one of he first to get through the enemy’s barbed wire entanglements. On 5th October an enormous trench mortar caused a collapse in one of the company’s dugouts. A party of rescuers tried to dig them out, but came under mortar fire. Seven men including Charles were killed, including 2 permanently entombed. Charles was buried at Maroeuil British Cemetery, 6km NW of Arras.
His gravestone reads “An admirable eldest son, his parents’ and his brothers’ pride”.
He is also commemorated on the Rutlish School memorial and on a family headstone in Gap Road Cemetery.


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