Charles William Edgerton Joiner 1868 - 1915
Park Keeper, Central Parks
Charles William Edgerton Joiner was born on 5 July 1868 whilst his father was serving with the Army in Murree, India. Charles also established a career in the army and by 1901 had become a Colour Sergeant, probably with the East Surrey Regiment based at the regimental depot at the Barracks, Kingston upon Thames. Together with his wife Annie, their four children and his garndmother they
lived at 8 Windham Road, Kingston upon Thames. By 1907 Charles had left the army with an army pension and on 1 March he joined the Office of Works as a Park Keeper based at St James’s Park on a salary of 26 shillings per week, plus uniform. By 1911 the family had grown with the addition of a daughter and were living in 170 Tachbrook Street, Pimlico.
During the war, Charles served with 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Evidence suggests that this was Charles’ original regiment and that he re-joined in Kingston upon Thames at the beginning of the war. It was not until 28 August 1915 that the battalion was put on readiness to move oversees and by 1 September they were in a rest camp at Ostrohove near Boulogne. The following day at 4.15 am they left Boulogne and proceeded by train and on foot to their billets headquartered at Humbert, where they stayed to practise trenching and tactics. Between 23 and 24 September, the battalion moved up to the front line and on the next day proceeded to advance into Vermelles. This was the start of the Battle of Loos, which was the first battle where the British used chlorine gas in an offensive. Soon after 4.00 am on the 26th the men were sheltering in the German support trenches taken the day earlier. Efforts were made to bring up rations for the men but enemy shellfire prevented this. At 11.00 am the battalion started the next advance “and was carried out right up to the enemy’s trenches but the wire not being cut it was impossible to get through the enemy’s lines. … The casualties were very heavy at this point chiefly owing to some machine guns which placed a heavy crossfire on our men”. The battalion casualties during that day were 14 officers and 438 men; one of them being Company Sergeant Major 663 Charles William Edgerton Joiner.
His body lies in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France in plot XI.E.4.