Thank you to Bernice Forsyth and Mary Day from Capel Local History Group for allowing Dorking Museum to publish their research, and thank you to Lenka Cathersides for additional research.
Charles James Holcomb was born in the 1st quarter of 1896 in Capel, Surrey to carpenter Charles Holcomb and Mary Ann Holcomb nee Jeffrey.
At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Cowix, Newdigate, Surrey. Charles was working as a carpenter and Mary was at home looking after their children: Annie, Rose, Emma and Charles James.
At the time of the 1911 Census, the family lived at Rome, Holbrook Route near Horsham. Charles was still working as a carpenter and Mary Ann was at home. The household further comprised of their son, carter Charles James. Mary Ann stated that she had given birth to six children. The house had five rooms.
Charles Holcomb enlisted in Horsham into the 22nd Battalion the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). He was a Private with regimental number K/1271.
Charles Holcomb disembarked on the 17th of November 1915 in France. He stayed with the 22nd Battalion until the 29th of January 1918.
On the 30th of January 1918 he was transferred to the 23rd Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers. The Battalion remained in France. He was a Corporal and his regimental number remained K/1271.
Charles Holcomb was killed in an action on the 23rd of February 1918 in France.
He was buried at the Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich, France. His grave reference number is: I.A.4.
His headstone bears the inscription: ‘Thy Way Not Mine Oh Lord’.
He received the British War and Victory medals.
Charles’ father Charles Holcomb received £6, 5s and 4d on the 10th of June 1918 and a further £15 on the 2nd of November 1919 in Soldier’s Effects.
His parents later lived at Greyhound Cottage, Petworth, Sussex.
Holcomb Family History
Charles James’ father Charles Holcomb was born in the 3rd quarter of 1854 in Ifield, Sussex to labourer James Holcomb, born about 1806 in Charlwood, Surrey and Philadelphia Holcomb, born about 1811 in Ifield, Sussex.
Charles James’ mother Mary Ann Jeffrey was born in the 2nd quarter of 1864 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent to fly driver (“fly” is a one horse two wheeled light carriage) John Jeffrey, born about 1835 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and Sarah Jeffrey, born about 1838 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Charles Holcomb and Mary Ann Jeffrey married on the 1st of November 1884 at St Nicholas’ church, Charlwood, Surrey. At the time of their marriage the couple lived in Charlwood and Charles was working as a carpenter.
Charles James Holcomb had five siblings: Margaret S. born about 1886; Charlotte E. born about 1887; Annie born about 1889; Rose born about 1892, all in Charlwood, Surrey and Emma Jane born about 1894 in Capel, Surrey.
At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at Norwood Hill Road, Charlwood, Surrey. Charles was working as a carpenter and Mary was looking after their children: Margaret, Charlotte and Annie.
Born Capel, Surrey
Lived Capel, Surrey
Son of Charles and Mary Ann Holcomb
Regiment 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Date of Death 23rd February 1918
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Cemetery Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, France