From 'For the Fallen of Ditchling' Ditchling History Project publication

From 'For the Fallen of Ditchling' Ditchling History Project publication

Charles Blake was born in West Ham, Essex, but his Ditchling connections have been traced back to his great-grandfather William Leaney who was born in 1791. William’s daughter Emma, born in Ditchling in 1829, married James Bartlett in St Margaret’s Church on 6th January 1849. James, the son of Thomas Bartlett, was born in Patcham in 1828. James and Emma had a daughter, also Emma, born in Ditchling in 1857. Emma married Thomas Blake from Slough in St Margaret’s Church Ditchling on New Year’s Eve 188l. The family moved to Hawkhurst in Kent where three sons and two daughters were born. The 1891 census shows that Emma and her children were living at Hopkins Crank on Ditchling Common where she worked as a grocery shopkeeper, very possibly in the shop in Folders Lane where she later worked at Costick’s laundry. On October 6th 1893, her youngest son Charles was born in West Ham where the family was living at the time of the 1901 census. Emma and her children returned to Sussex after her husband died in 1902, living for some time at Pollards Farm on Ditchling Common. From the of age eight Charles was growing up on Ditchling Common where his neighbours were the Leaney family; Martin Leaney was Emma’s cousin, both sharing the same grandfather. In the 1911 census Charles is listed as a ‘farmer’s pupil’ living at The Green Road, Wivelsfield Green only a mile away from the Common. In September 1914, at the age of 21 Charles enlisted at Hurstpierpoint into the 16th Battalion (Sussex Yeomanry) Royal Sussex Regiment. During the First World War the Yeomanry were dismounted and fought as the 16th Battalion in Egypt and Palestine and later on the Western Front. After enduring four years of fighting Charles was killed on September 2nd 1918 aged 24. At the end of August 1918 the battalion was ordered to relieve a Brigade of the 58th division in support of the line north west of Peronne. The town, which stands on the River Somme, had been fortified by the Germans until March 1917 when they retreated, destroying the town as they went. They took the town again in the spring of 1918 and held it until September when Charles Blake’s battalion was in action alongside the Australian forces. The battalion casualties for 2nd September were 3 officers wounded, 12 other ranks killed and 35 wounded. Charles is buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery.

Created by: All159328

  • Born 1894

    Died 1918

    British Army G/2725 Private Royal Sussex Regiment

    British Army 315492 Private Royal Sussex Regiment 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion