Charles was born to John Morris Bather and his wife Annie (nee Rees) in 1896 in Lower Sydenham, Kent, although the town was later included within the borough of Lewisham.
Charles's father John had been born in Brecon in 1860 and lived at 60, Orchard Street, Llanfaes. his family moving to 71, Heol Rhydd, St Mary's, Brecon by 1871. By the time he is 21, John is boarding in Ystradyfodwg and working as a gas fitter. He later meets Annie Rees from Tredegar and they get married in Lewisham in 1885 and live there for a number of years, having five children, with Charles being the youngest.
Most of the family move back to Brecon and are living at 73, The Struet in 1911, although unfortunately, John had died in 1908. Charles is 15 and working as a boot and shoe errand boy at the time. Also at the house at the census date was Charles Richard George Phillips, listed as a visitor, who was 14 years old and working as a grocery errand boy. (Charles Phillips is reported separately¹). Brothers Fred and Ben were boarding in London in 1911, both working as gas fitters.
By 1914, Charles is working as an apprentice in the blacksmith trade at Messrs Rich and son, having previously been an apprentice with Mr. Sam Garratt at his Boot Factory. He enlisted in Brecon and first went overseas on 3rd July 1915. He initially joined the South Wales Borderers before transferring to the Devon Regiment and later back to the Borderers.
¹See page 278
He served in a number of campaigns before falling in Mesopotamia on April 30th, 1917. He was part of a big attack that took place on that date and four other Brecon men lost their lives on the same battlefield, Private William John Jenkins², Private William Edwin Morgan³, and Lieutenant Stephen Best⁴ who are also featured in this book. A sixth Brecon man was reported as killed, but this later proved to be erroneous although he was taken prisoner by the Turks
Charles' brother Benjamin also lost his life in the war, whilst eldest brother Fred survived, despite suffering severe burns to the face and arms whilst serving in France. (Benjamin's story features separately in this book⁵).
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Private Charles Edward Bather
South Wales Borderers 4th Battalion, service no. 27745