Driver 90670 Charles Henry John Masters, MM

Masters Charles Henry 96 455x600Masters Charles Henry 96 403x600
Photograph courtesy of Reg Cook.

Died on Thursday, 31st October 1918, age 22.
Buried in Grave IX. B. 6. at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas De Calais, France.

Royal Field Artillery, 50th Brigade, "C" Battery. 9th Division.

Son of Cpl Charles Henry and Mrs Amelia Masters, of 3 Eagle Passage, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffordshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 13th May 1915.
Medal entitlement: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Luke's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/4026442/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
2 Court 4 House, Eagle Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Charles H. Masters (34, Stoker of Stationary Engine, born Tipton), his wife Amelia M. (27, born Gravesend), and their 3 children: Charles H.J. (4, born Tipton), James T.E. (2, born Tipton), and Violet (1 month, born Tipton).

1911 Census
1 Court 3 House, Eagle Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Charles H. Masters (45, Mercantile Stoker - Navy, born Tipton), his wife Amelia Marie (38, born Gravesend), and their 8 children: Daisy Marie (18, born Gravesend), Charles Henry John (14, born Tipton), James Thomas Edward (13, born Tipton), Violet (10, born Tipton), Elizabeth Emily (8, born Tipton), Laura (6, born Tipton), Edwin Harold (4, born Tipton), and Grace Ellen (4 months (6, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Charles Masters is also commemorated as just C. Masters on the St. Luke's Memorial. Charles was an ex-pupil of Great Bridge Council School, as was the Victoria Cross winner Joe Davis. Prior to joining the army, Charles was employed at Ratcliffe's Tube Works, Great Bridge.

His outstanding army pay and allowances of £12/3/11d (12 pounds, 3 shillings and 11 pence) was paid to to mother and sole legatee, Amelia, in May 1919. His mother also received his War Gratuity of £19/10/0d (19 pounds and 10 shillings) in December 1919; the value of the Gratuity and his date of death suggest that he had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Driver Charles Masters served on the Western Front for 3 years 5 months, with the Royal Field Artillery. He did not quite live to see the end of the war, as he died on 31st October 1918. He won the Military Medal, but said modestly "...I have not got the least idea what I got it for, as I only did my duty...".

On 31st October 1918 Charles died of pneumonia, possibly as a side-effect of influenza. He was a patient in the 83rd General Hospital, situated in Boulogne, and is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, at Wimille, near Boulogne.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald August 28th 1915
Driver Masters, of the R.F.A., with the British Expeditionary Force in France writes us as follows:- "Dear Sir, I am writing asking you a favour on my own and on behalf of my pals. Would some kind reader, or readers, send us an accordian or melodeon to pass many a weary hour away. I am a constant reader of your noted paper, as it comes to me out here every week, and we are interested in it. I can assure you that we would be very thankful if we could get an instrument. I am glad to tell you that we are in the pink of health and hope to bring this cruel war to an end soon. It has now resolved itself into a battle between civilisation and barbarism. I belong to New Road, Great Bridge, Tipton."

Tipton Herald August 24th 1918
Tipton Military Medallist wants a football.
Driver Masters (90670) F.Sub C 50 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, writes as follows:- "on behalf of my pals and myself, asking someone if they would supply us with a football, which would help to pass away many a weary and monotonous hour, in the intervals of striving hard to bring this war to an end. I am glad to say there are a few Tipton lads here, I myself belong to Great Bridge. I am pleased to say that I have been awarded the Military Medal, but I have not got the least idea what I got it for, as I only did my duty as a British soldier should do. My home address is 3 Eagle Passage, New Road, Great Bridge, Tipton."

Tipton Herald November 23rd 1918
To the regret of his many friends, Driver Charles Masters, R.F.A., whose home was situated in Eagle Passage, Great Bridge, has died in France from pneumonia. He was a scholar of Great Bridge Council Schools, and prior to joining the army was employed at Ratcliffe's Tube Works, Great Bridge. He was a member of the Great Bridge Sunday Morning Adult School. He joined the army at the outbreak of the war, and after being three years and ten months abroad the deceased soldier was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry on the battlefield. His father and a brother are also in the army.
The mother received a letter from Major J. Hoggart (commanding) as follows: "I very much regret to inform you of the death of your son from pneumonia, on the 31st October. He was one of the very best men in the battery, and always did his work in a splendid way. He has been with me through a great many battles and some very hard fighting. It was for his gallantry in action that I recommended him for the Military Medal. He was a very brave young fellow. It is very hard, now that peace is in sight, that you should lose such a gallant son. All ranks of the battery join with me in offering to you our very deepest sympathies."
The mother and family received a particularly nice letter from the officials of the Great Bridge Adult School.

Tipton Herald November 30th 1918
Roll of Honour
MASTERS. In loving memory of our dear son, Driver Charles H.J. Masters, son of Corporal and Mrs C.H. Masters, Eagle Passage, Great Bridge. Died in hospital in France, October 31st. Gone but not forgotten.
In connection with the death in hospital of Driver C. Masters, whose home is at Great Bridge, in Eagle Passage, it is interesting to record that the deceased's father, acting Corporal Charles Henry Masters, aged 52, is in the Engineers. At the outbreak of war he was a sailor on a transport, and served in Egyptian waters for 16 months before joining the Royal Engineers. His other son, James T. Masters, has been nearly two years in the army. After suffering from shell shock he was moved from the Durham Light Infantry to a Labour Company. His late brother, Driver C. Masters, attended Great Bridge Council Schools, and was also a scholar at St. Luke's Sunday School. Up to the time of his death, a copy of this newspaper was regularly sent out to him by friends. His father, who belongs to Tipton, had always been a fireman and engineer. His mother is a native of Gravesend.