Our People - Charles Naylor
31 July 1917
#305704 Sergeant Charles Naylor
1/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division - previously attached Royal Engineers
Died of wounds 31 July 1917 age 24
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Ref: Panel 4 and 6
Son of James Louis and Sarah Agnes Naylor, of 221, Station Rd., Bamber Bridge, Preston.
Charles Naylor was born in 1893 to chemist and druggist James Louis Naylor and Sarah Agnes Naylor (née Dandy). They lived over the shop at 219-221 Station Road in Bamber Bridge, premises still used as a pharmacy by the Boots chain to this day. Before joining up in September 1914, Charles worked as a rating surveyors clerk.
Charles was promoted to Lance Corporal in November and Corporal on 17 March 1915. He landed in France with his regiment on 3 May and was in action at Festubert on 14 June 1915 where the battalion suffered heavily, the Company Captain was killed and Charles was promoted to Sergeant in the field. Recommended for a commision, he was at Cadet Training School in August and September 1916, before he was recalled because so many N.C.O.'s had been killed. From January to March 1917 he was attached to a company of Royal Engineers then recalled to his battalion for the Third Battle of Ypres. He was killed in action on the first day of the battle and has never been forgotten.
As part of the First World War Centenary celebrations in 2017 a ring of eight commemorative bells were cast at Taylor’s foundry in Loughborough and embarked on a journey from the War Memorial Tower in Loughborough via Tyne Cot Cemetery to St. George’s Memorial Church, Ypres. Each bell bears the names of eight men and Charles Naylor was one of them courtesy of Charles’ great niece Helen Saddleton and her son Harry.
The church was constructed in the 1920s in memory of the 500,000 British and Commonwealth troops who died in the battles for Ypres. However, there were insufficient funds at the time for bells to be installed and the Bells for St. George project completed the bell tower. On Sunday 22 October 2017, more than 200 people gathered there for the dedication of the bells, which, the church says, will “launch a new perspective to the remembrance of the sacrifice given by so many in [Ypres] during the Great War.”
Charles’ medals came up for sale on eBay in 2018. WFA Leyland and Central Lancashire were able to alert his family and help reunite them with the medals. The name of Charles Naylor appears on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the missing panel 4 and 6.
Charles also appears on the Bamber Bridge Brownedge St. Mary's R.C. War Memorial and the Preston Catholic College Memorial. His brother Louis served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and survived the war.
1/8TH KING'S WAR DIARY 31 JULY 1917. "The objective of what is called the Third Battle of Ypres was the capture of the enemy's Gheluvelt-Langemarck system. The 55th Div. was to attack with the 165th Bde. on the right, and the 166th Bde. on the left, and the 164th Bde. in reserve which would push up & mop up from the rear. A half sodden ground greasy and depressing, such was the weather at 3.50 am on the 31st. when the barrage opened. The Blue line was the first objective which was reached fairly easily. From the Blue line machine gun fire was active from Plum Farm which was at once attacked & captured. At 4.45 am the troops were digging in on the Blue line. The advance to the Black line was heavily disputed, and very severe fighting took place, until at 9.00 am, the whole of the Black line was believed to have been taken. This was a mistake, and was not secure until the capture of Spree Farm by the 164th Bde. At 10.10 am the 164th Bde advanced to capture the Green line. On their way up they had sustained serious casualties from Square Farm, and eventually reached the Green line in very weak numbers. A heavy counter attack then took place which made a withdrawal necessary, and after another, they fought a magnificent rearguard withdrawal to the Black line, from which they were relieved."
The death in action is announced of Sergt. Charles Naylor, King's (Liverpool) Regt., second son of Mr. J. L. and Mrs. Naylor, Station-road, Bamber Bridge. Sergt. Naylor, who was 24 years of age, was reported wounded and missing on July 31st last year, and is now officially presumed to have been killed on that date. PRESTON GUARDIAN, 13 April, 1918.
RECOMMENDED FOR A COMMISSION. Colour - Sergeant - Major Naylor, son of Mr. Naylor, chemist, Station-road, Bamber Bridge has been recommended by his Brigadier-General for a commission. He is 22 years of age, and has been at the front 15 months. He is attached to the 18th (Irish) Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment, and was formerly assistant rating surveyor to the Preston Guardians. PRESTON GUARDIAN, date unknown.
Charles Naylor’s mass card printed by J Berry of Bamber Bridge. Image courtesy of Helen Saddleton
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