Acting Sergeant Charles William Humphris

Charles Humphris
Photo courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Elizabeth Simmons for this research.

Charles William Humphris was born in 1879/1880 in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

His parents were Joseph and Harriett Humphris. His father worked as a forage contractor.

In 1907 Charles married Alice Maud Mary Darke on 22nd September 1907 at the Parish Church of St George in Birmingham. They were both 29. Joseph and Harriett Humphris were both present at the wedding, along with Alice’s mother Ada Darke. On his marriage certificate, Charles William Humphris is listed as being a caterer. At the time of their wedding both Charles and Alice are listed as living at 31 Constitution Hill in Birmingham, which at that time was a thriving industrial area.

In the 1911 census, when the couple had been married for 3 years, they are listed as still living at 31 Constitution Hill in Birmingham, although now Humphris is listed as a refreshment shopkeeper. According to this census, both he and Alice are now living with Flossie Richards who is 13 and listed as a domestic assistant.

Charles enlisted in Chelsea, London, where he joined the 4th London Field Ambulance, part of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The Royal Army Medical Corps was not a fighting unit and its members did not carry weapons, however they did experience the full effects of the war. The Field Ambulances were part of a mobile medical unit which were assigned to a Division. The 4th London Field Ambulance that Humphris was attached to, was linked with the 47th (2nd London) Division, which was one of the first units to go to France in 1914 to provide support to the British Expeditionary Force. In theory the total number of casualties that a Field Ambulance could look after was 150; although this was often largely exceeded during battles.

A Field Ambulance relied on horses to pull much of their equipment, including a total of 23 wagons made up of 10 ambulance wagons, 6 general service wagons, 3 watercarts, 3 forage carts and a cook wagon, along with a bicycle. However, by the end of 1914, 7 motorised ambulances were attached to the Field Ambulances.

It is likely that Humphris’ Field Ambulance was involved in the Battle of Mons, the Battle of Marne, the Battle of Aisne, and the first Battle of Ypres.

On 6 February 1915 Humphris died of pneumonia in Dorking, after being injured. He was 34.

Lincoln Road, Dorking © Dorking Musuem

In the censuses after the end of the First World War Alice Maud Mary Humphris can be seen living in Dorking at “Fairview”, 44 Lincoln Road, Dorking, where she remained until 7th November 1958 when she died. It is possible that she may have moved to Dorking during the First World War, and that is why her husband died there.

Charles William Humphris
Image courtesy of Royston Williamson

Charles William Humphris is now buried in Dorking Cemetery.

Born Banbury, Oxon
Lived Fulham, London
Son of Joseph and Harriet Humphris
Husband of Alice Maud Mary Humphris of “Fairview” 44 Lincoln Road, Dorking
Enlisted Chelsea, London
Regiment 4th London Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C.
Number 2037
Date of Death 6th February 1915
Place of Death Dorking, Surrey
Cause of Death Accidentally Killed
Age 34
Cemetery Dorking Cemetery
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