This site commemorates the men and women of Collingham, Linton and Micklethwaite who served during World War 1.
Groves, Charles William

Rank Private

Service Number SE/21621

Service Army


Regiment Royal Army Veterinary Corps

Buried Otley


Charles William Groves was born in 1876 in Collingham, the son of a farmer, Charles Groves (Snr) and his wife, Sarah A. Groves. In 1881, and again in 1891, the family were living at Beck House, in Back Street, Collingham, but by 1901, they were living in Sicklinghall.

On the 3rd May 1898, Charles William Graves married Hannah Maria Hewitt, in St.Oswald's Church, Collingham and they had three children - Charles Hewitt Groves (born in 1900 - see separate entry), Harold (born 1901) and Arthur (born 1910). In 1911, Charles William was living again in Collingham with his family. In those last few years, Charles William and his wife must have had some trauma, as they had had 5 children, but only three were still living in 1911.

On outbreak of war, Charles William Groves was aged 38 and perhaps thought that he would be too old for service, however as British losses mounted and conscription started, Charles became eligible for service. Once called up, men were allowed to appeal against their call up if they felt they were in an occupation that was imprtant for the national interest, and Charles, as a farmer, was in that position. In 1917, therefore, he appealed against his call up and we find a report in the Wetherby News: -

Wetherby News 31 August 1917
C. W. Groves, 41, married, Collingham is a working farm foreman and spare time assurance agent - Major Toyne understood that the man was not now doing farm work to a sufficient extent to warrant his exemption. Groves produced a certificate from his employer as a farmer, and also a certificate from the Refuge Assurance Company. He was, he said, putting in 50 to 55 hours a week on the farm, and 20 hours on assurance work. he milks five cows. When he has time he helps other farmers. The certificate was not varied, but Groves must report monthly to the Tribunal the hours he spends in agriculture.


Charles William Groves was therefore exempt from military service, for the time, but manpower was in short supply and the country was looking to make sure that all who could serve, were called up.

On November 2nd 1917, the Wetherby News updated its readers about Charles' case at the Tribunal:

Wetherby News 2 November 1917
Charles W. Groves, married, 41, farm manager and insurance agent, Collingham showed that he was working on the avergae from 5 and a half to 7 hours per day on the farm - one day he so worked 13 hours. Applicant has not been medically examined. He averages about 20 hours a week in the insurance business. - Lt. Bamborough said his informationwas that Groves' wife and son could do the insurance business, and asked that he be set to whole-time farm work, in which he has had a life-time experience. Groves milks five cows every day. He agreed to spend his whole time on the farm. After discussion, the application of the Military Representative was granted.


We believe that, at some stage after that, Charles William Groves was called up for service. His medal roll entry shows that he was first in the 10th Battalion West Riding Regiment as Private 25957 Groves, but perhaps due to his farming experience and skills, he later transferred to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps with the service number SE/21621.

Charles William Groves died in Otley on the 16th July 1960.

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