Topic: Charles Herbert Raxworthy

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Charles Herbert Raxworthy (Service no. 4/1837) was a First World War soldier with links to Upper Riccarton.

Charles Herbert Raxworthy was born on the 22nd September, 1891 in Riccarton, Christchurch. He was second born and the oldest male of Thomas Herbert Raxworthy and Isidore Maud Williams’ ten children. Alice Maud Raxworthy (1889) was the oldest of the ten children, followed by Charles Herbert (1891), Thomas Arthur (1893), John Robert (1897), Raymond Wyman (1898), Alfred Redvers (1900), Leslie Edward (1902), Hugh James (1903), William Stanley (1905) and Richard Cecil (1907).

The Raxworthy family lived at 89 Waimairi Road. Charles and his siblings attended Riccarton School (now known as Riccarton Primary School). His father was on the school committee. His father also worked as an engineer.

Isidore passed away on 28th October, 1907 aged 43. She was closely followed by her youngest son Richard Cecil who passed away on 16th February, 1908 at the age of four months. This tragedy hit the family hard as Alice Maud had also lost her first child, Owen Henry, on 11th August, 1907. Thomas, Isadore and baby Richard are all buried together in the St. Peter's churchyard, Upper Riccarton.

Before the war Charles worked as a postal cadet. He enlisted on the 10th October, 1915 in Auckland where he was living at 5 Scotia Place at the top of Queen Street. Four of his eight younger brothers, Thomas Arthur, John Robert, Raymond Wyman and Alfred Redvers, fought bravely in the war beside him. Charles stood at 5 feet 4 inches (162 cm) tall and weighed 10 stone (45 kgs). He is described as having a fair complexion and hair and grey eyes.

Charles embarked to Egypt on the 4th March, 1916 as a sapper. After a brief stay in Egypt he boarded the troopship Kinfaun's Castle at Port Said and disembarked at Marselles, France on 21st April 1916 after 8 days at sea. He then served in France and Belgium starting midway through 1916. On the 18th October, 1916 he was awarded the Military Medal for Acts of Gallantry in the field. He continued to serve in France and Belgium until he was wounded on the field on the 9th June, 1917. He was gassed and admitted to the casualty clearing station and then transferred to the No.2 Australian casualty clearing station within the same day. Charles died at the No.2 Australian clearing station on the 10th June, 1917, after serving for 1 year and 234 days. He was aged 25 years.

Four of Charles' eight younger brothers also served in the war. Thomas Arthur and John Robert fell in the field. Alfred Redvers was wounded and discharged to be sent home. Raymond Wyman returned from the war uninjured. Raymond then went on to fight in WWII along with younger brother Hugh James Raxworthy.

Charles was awarded the Military Medal, the Victory medal and the British War medal. Charles’s Military Medal was presented personally to his father, at 89 Waimairi Road, by an officer from the Canterbury Military District Headquarters.

Charles Herbert Raxworthy was buried in the Military cemetery at Trois Arbres, Steenwerck, France. His grave reference is I.P.3. Charles is remembered on the Roll of Honour at the Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library.

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Charles Herbert Raxworthy

First Names:Charles Herbert
Last Name:Raxworthy
Place of Birth:Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand