Charles Baker Hawxwell (1881-1917)
Labourer, Central Parks
Charles Baker Hawxwell was born in 1881 to Philip, an assistant bookseller, and Sarah Jane Hawxwell who were living at 26 Eversleigh Road, Battersea. By 1891 the family moved to West Croydon and then on to Thornton Heath and eventually, in 1911, were at 27 Princess Road, South Norwood. Charles was living with his parents, three sisters and two brothers; a lodger was also residing in the property. At that time, Charles was working as a florist although ten years earlier his occupation was stated as a gardener. When he enlisted he was employed by the Office of Works as a gardener in the Central Parks.
On 1 May 1917, Charles was serving with the 12th Battalion, London Regiment with the British Expeditionary Forces in France. They were resting at Camp Chippewa at Rheninghelst to the south-west of Ypres when, on the morning of 2 May, the battalion was called up to relieve the troops approximately 7 miles away at Dickebusch near St Eloi (Sint-Elooi). That night the Germans let off gas and the strombus, which was an air horn used in the trenches to indicate a gas alarm, sounded to the left of the battalion positions. On 3 May, the battalion’s position had deteriorated and it reported that the “enemy’s recent raid has left the centre of our front line in a very bad condition. Wire around mine shaft and No 1 Crater has been badly damaged. No 1 Crater [which was being used as a forward post] is no longer to be used by day, owing to its altered condition”. On that day, Private G/28924 Charles Baker Hawxwell was killed.
His name is carved on the Arras Memorial in Bay 7, meaning that his body was either unable to be identified or was not found.