Topic: Charles Francis Horwell

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Charles Francis Horwell (Service number 40812) was a First World War soldier with links to Upper Riccarton

Charles Francis Horwell was born in Papanui, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand on August 1, 1895. He was the eldest child of Evelyn Ada Elizabeth Mumford and Charles Frederick Horwell, who were married on October 13, 1891 at St Mark's Church, Opawa and who went on to have four children; Charles Francis (1895), Kathleen Ada (1898), Frederick Arthur (1900) and Lily Theresa (1904). Evelyn and Charles celebrated their golden wedding in 1941.

Charles’ father arrived in Aotearoa in 1872 as a five-year-old, travelling from Stafford, England on the Lady Jocelyn with his parents Job and Elizabeth and three siblings; William (aged 9), Robert (aged 7) and infant Arthur (aged 2 1/5). They were accompanied by Hannah Horwell (aged 50) who was the children's grand mother. Elizabeth gave birth to a further five children in New Zealand. Job was an agricultural labourer. Job and Elizabeth are buried in Linwood Cemetery.

Charles’ mother Evelyn Ada Elizabeth was born in 1871 in Canterbury to Kate Alicia Green and Samuel Mumford. Tragedy struck the family in 1916 when three of Evelyn's brother's children were drowned in the lily pond at Riccarton Racecourse where they were playing unattended.

Charles went to Riccarton School and then went on to study at the Technical College. Before enlisting in the 24th Reinforcements in 1916, Charles worked as a clerk at the Canterbury By-Products Company.

Private Charles (Service number 40812) left Wellington on the troopship Pākehā on April 26, 1917, and arrived in Devonport, England, three months later. He trained at Sling Camp before going to the front. He died on August 26, 1918 in France, age 23, from wounds sustained in battle – a month after his birthday and just under three months before the war was declared over on November 11, 1918.

Charles remains were buried in Haplincourt French Cemetery during the heat of the battle and the location co-ordinates were recorded. His body was recovered and reinterred at Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France on May 6, 1919.

Charles’ medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, were sent to his mother in Christchurch.

Charles Francis Horwell is named on the Roll of Honour at the Upper Riccarton Memorial Library.

His mother and father continued to live in Christchurch until their deaths in 1943 and 1958, respectively. They are buried in Bromley Cemetery .

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Charles Francis Horwell


First Names:Charles Francis
Last Name:Horwell
Place of Birth:Papanui, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand