Charles John Studd

Charles Studd was born in either Little Bromley or Lawford in the summer of 1884, one of at least 8 children from the marriage of John Studd and his wife Phoebe.  John was an Agricultural Labourer from Little Bromley, whilst Phoebe (nee Bund) was from Lawford.  Part of Charles’ early childhood was spent in Little Bromley before the family moved to East Street, Dedham.  By April 1901 were living on Harwich Road, Colchester, when 16 year old Charles was employed as a Timber Carter. 

By April 1911, Charles was employed as a Labourer and was lodging with the Bird family on Mill Road, at Mile End in Colchester.  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Charles joined the Army, but he either volunteered under the “Derby Scheme” in December 1915, or was conscripted during the first three months of 1916.  This makes it very likely that he was sent to France in the summer of 1916.

He was posted initially to 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, and then to their 11thBattalion.  When the German offensive was launched on 21st March 1918, the 11th Suffolks were in the front line near Croisilles south-east of Arras.  During the next two days of severe fighting they suffered over 200 casualties.  After being relieved, the Battalion were sent 30 miles to the north, to a relatively quiet sector near the town of Armentieres. 

On 9th April, the Germans launched a second offensive, this time directed against the British and Portuguese forces in Flanders.  Over much of the next ten days the 11th Suffolks were again involved in heavy fighting, initially around the village of Erquinghem (near Armentieres), and finally – as the British retreated – around the town of Bailleul.

By the time, the Battalion was relieved on 18th April, they had suffered a further 500 casualties, including over 100 dead.  Such was the nature of this fighting retreat that the Army were not able to establish the exact dates on which most of the Battalion’s dead had lost their lives.  Charles was one of those men, and is recorded as having been killed at some point between 9th April and 19th April 1918. 

Charles Studd is officially commemorated on Panel 3 of the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium. The Memorial commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the Great War, and have no known grave.