This site commemorates the men and women of Collingham, Linton and Micklethwaite who served during World War 1. Today we especially commemorate Corporal 18282 Henry Reginald Hirst of the Royal Army Ordnance Corp who died on this day in 1936.
Groves, Charles William
(1876-1960)

Rank and Unit at End of World War One

Rank Private

Service Number 25958

Service Army

Battalion 10th Battalion

Regiment West Riding Regiment

Buried Otley

Other service during World War One
Information from Medal Index Cards (WO372), Medal Rolls (WO329), Service Records (WO363) and/or Pension Records (WO364) held by The National Archives.
Rank Number Unit
Private Royal Army Veterinary Corps

Biography

Family background

Charles William Groves was born on the 1st March 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 Groves married Hannah Maria Hewitt, in St.Oswald's Church, Collingham. In 1911, Charles William was living again in Collingham with his family which included Charles Hewitt Groves (born in 1900 - see separate entry), Harold (born 1901) and Arthur (born 1910). The census entry also reveals that Charles and Hannah must have suffered some family trauma in the early 1900s as the census entry shows they had had 5 children, of whom only three had survived to 1911.

Service record

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 important 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 average 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 information was 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. We believe that all of Charles' service was in the UK.

After the war

After the war Charles William Groves returned to Collingham. From 1919 until around 1927 he lived with his family on Main Street, Collingham, but in 1928 his address in the electoral roll is given as Hill Top, Collingham. From 1930 until 1939 he lived at Providence Cottage, Collingham. At some time during world war 2 he moved again, but staying in Collingham and now living at 7 Garth End, Collingham. In 1939 he was at that address and gave his occupation as a retired garage manager. He remained at 7 Garth End until 1957/8, when he moved a few doors to 14 Garth End.

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


Sources

1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25962
The Wetherby News 31/8/1917 & 2/11/1917
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).

If you have any photographs or further details about this person we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact us via: alan.berry@collinghamanddistrictwararchive.info