Charles 'Lewis' Blakeway
Private 30980, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.
Died 09/04/1918. Age 32.
Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
Charles Lewis Blakeway, know as 'Lewis' was born in Rushden, Northamptonshire, 1886. His parents were Hedley (born Rocester, Staffordshire) and Elizabeth (born in Rushden, Northamptonshire). Hedley is listed on the 1901 census as a coal dealer and publican of the Bell Inn, Marlesford. Charles at this time was a coal dealer assistant.
Lewis had 4 siblings, Amy Agnes (born 1881), Jennie (born 1884), Hedley Alexander (born 1891, served in the Great War, Royal Garrison Artillery) and Dorothy Elizabeth (born 1897).
Lewis married Dilys Mary Croxford (born in Paddington, 1885) on the 28th April 1909 and following the the death of his father, took over as Landlord of the Bell Inn, Marlesford while remaining as a coal dealer.
Bell Inn, Marlesford. Lewis and his wife Dilys are pictured, centred. Lewis' brother Hedley is holding the horse
Lewis was called up for service in April 1916 and reported for duty on 1st June, and believed he went overseas to serve in France from September 1916,
July 7th 1917
From Sunnyland called France.
'My darling little Margery, what a naughty daddy I have been, haven't I for not writing to you for so long. But sometimes I am busy and then sometimes lazy but still, dear one, daddy is always thinking of you and Lissy.
Wishing I could come home to take you for walks again but we must hope it will not be too much longer before I do. Will you be pleased do you think, I bet we would all love some fun wouldn't we?
So dear, try and eat and get yourself fat as mummy tells me you have been very poorly lately and you must not, for I want two bonny girls to meet me at the station when the day comes for home.
How I am pleased you like going to school so much to know you have olive (?) to play with. You do begin to write nicely dear and will soon beat daddy for he cannot write.
I hope Auntie Symonds does not give you the cane if you're naughty, give her love from me and give Lissy kisses and with loads for you and mum for I must be ending for this time.
Will try and write you again soon, give my love to all Marlesford people I know and now I end.
With lots of hugs and kisses from daddy.'
Charles and Dilys had two daughters Evelyn Mary (born 3rd February 1914 Marlesford, died 25th February 1943), and Margery Elizabeth (born 29th October 1911 Marlesford, died 15th November 1997).
This photo is believed to be of Charles and Dilys with one of their daughters.
From the History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914 - 1927 the following:-
After a series of marches and a railway journey the battalion arrived at Erquinghem, billeting in La Rolanderie Farm, the brigade reserve position, and on March 30th went into the front line in the Houplines sector, the 34th Division holding a line some 8000 yards in front of Armentieres. Shortly after sunset on 7th April the Germans bombarded the town with gas shells, causing heavy casualties. The 101st brigade being now in corps reserve, the 8th was spent at La Rolanderie, with the 12th Battalion close by at Fleurbaix. Before dawn on the 9th the enemy opened an intense bombardment south of the Lille railway, but no attack developed along the 34th Division front. At 10 am the 101st brigade as corps reserve was sent off to the south of Bac St. Maur, but an hour later the corps commander came to divisional headquarters and, hearing that the enemy had broken the Portugese front and entered the battle zone of the 40th Division, told Major General Nicholson to use the brigade to cover his own flank. On approaching Bac St. Maur and finding that village in possession of the Germans, the 101st brigade took up a position facing west and south west near Fort Rompu, when fighting began immediately.
(Charles) Lewis Blakeway's death was recorded on the 9th April 1918, he was killed in the shelling of a field hospital having been wounded elsewhere but it would seem to be during the offensive mentioned above.
Apparently he came home on leave once and told my great grandmother that he didn't expect to see any of them again.
He's commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the lost, just one of far too many."
If you have any further information about Charles then we would live to hear from you, please contact us here using the form.