Charles William Fewell was born and raised in Chelmsford, working for a printer before the war. He married in 1914 and had two children. He was killed near Ypres in January 1918, shortly after being recommended for an officer’s commission, when a shell struck his dug-out. His parents’ home was in Upper Bridge Road. His brother was also killed during the war.
FEWELL, CHARLES WILLIAM, M.M.,
Serjeant,148th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (formerly of the Essex Regiment)
The Supplement to the London Gazette dated 28th January 1918 announced the award of the Military Medal to him. Charles was also entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
On 15th February 1918 the Essex Weekly News carried the following report:
“Sergt. C. Fewell, Essex Regt., of Upper Bridge-rd., Chelmsford, and formerly employed at the office of Mr. J. Dutton, Tindal-st., Chelmsford, has been killed by a shell which blew in his dug-out which he and an officer were occupying beside the machine huns.
Capt. J. S Husband, writing to Mrs. Fewell, says:
‘Men eager to help at once started to dig the unfortunate officer and sergeant out. We got your husband free as soon as possible, but he was past all help. The shock of the explosion and the crushing which he received rendered him unconscious from the first. Everyone in the Company mourns his loss, for he was an excellent soldier and companion. When he joined my Company I at once recognised in him a non-commissioned officer whose efficiency and ability were much above the average. It is just about seven weeks ago that I had the pleasure of recommending him for a commission. To have had him with me as an officer would have been a great pleasure to me.
The G.O. commanding the Brigade expressed his regret at the death of so gallant and promising a soldier, for he had forwarded his commission papers with his recommendation. I cannot tell you how much I regret his loss, but to me he was the ideal of sergeants, efficient in instruction, patient with difficult men, gallant and resourceful in the field. I was proud to recommend him for the Military Medal for his prompt action when his officer had been killed during an engagement not far from the scene of his gallantry where he fell.’
Deceased is the second son of his parents have lost in the war, while the father and three sons are serving in the Army.”
Charles was born in Widford on 3rd April 1892, the second son of Thomas Edmund Fewell and Emily Eliza Fewell (nee Dines). His father had been born in 1871 in Writtle; his mother in 1867 in Widford.
The couple had married on 2nd August 1890 at St. Mary’s Church in Widford when Charles’ father was aged 20, a leather finisher of Widford, and the son of the publican Thomas Charles Fewell. His mother was aged 23, also of Widford, the daughter of Richard Dines, a carman.
Charles’ parents had been living in Baddow Road, Chelmsford in 1891. Charles was christened at St Mary's Church, Widford on 29th May 1892. At the time his father was a tanner living in Widford. The family moved to 8 Wolseley Road, Chelmsford by August 1893.
Charles’ siblings, all Chelmsford-born, included Thomas Richard Fewell (born in 1891, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 21st February 1891, died 1916), Maud Annie Fewell (born in 1893, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 5th August 1893, died 1959), James Ernest Fewell (born in 1895, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 6th April 1895), Henry Peter Fewell (born in 1896, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 2nd January 1897, died 1971), Bertie Fewell (born in 1897, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 12th December 1897, died 1965), Emily Ellen Fewell (born in 1899, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 3rd June
1899, died 1974), John Fewell (born in 1901, and christened at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 15th August 1901), Percy Fewell (1903-1985), Alice Mary Fewell (born in 1905) and Albert Alfred Fewell (1911-1963).
For each of the christenings Charles’ father was either a tanner or leather finisher, except for that of John Fewell when he was simply a labourer.
The 1901 census found nine year-old Charles living with his parents and six siblings living at 8 Wolseley Road, Chelmsford. His father was a millwright, who by 1910 was living at 30 Regina Road, Chelmsford. It was there that the 1911 census found Charles’ parents and eight siblings, At the time his father was a pipe fitter at Hoffmann’s ball-bearings factory in Chelmsford. His sister Maud was a laundry maid at the Model Steam Laundry; brother James was a car man in a laundry; brother Henry was a telegraph messenger boy for the Post Office; and brother Bertie was a mitre boy at Crompton’s electrical engineers in Chelmsford. Charles has yet to be found in the 1911 census.
Charles married Annie Edith Dann, daughter of Frederick George Dann, in August 1914 at Warley, just four days after the outbreak of war. Warley was the Depot of the Essex Regiment, which suggests he may have been a soldier there before the outbreak of the war. The couple had a son, Roy Reginald Fewell (1915-1995), and a daughter, Margaret A. Fewell (born in 1916).
Charles’ brother, Thomas Richard Fewell was killed in action on 28th July 1916. Their father served with the Royal Engineers during the war.
Charles lived at Chelmsford, and enlisted at Warley. serving as 9470 in the Essex Regiment. He was killed in action on 8th January 1918 while serving as Serjeant 9285 in the 148th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). He was aged 26. He is buried at Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (grave reference: II. G. 13).
A week later the Essex County Chronicle reported:
Sgt, C. Fewell, Essex Regt., of Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford, formerly employed at the office of Mr. J. Dutton, Tindal Street. Chelmsford, was killed by a shell which blew in the dug-out which he and an officer were occupying.
Capt. J. S. Husband writing to Mrs. Fewell, says: ‘Everyone in the Company mourns his loss, for he was an excellent soldier and companion. About seven weeks ago I had the pleasure of recommending him for a commission. I was proud to recommend him for the Military Medal for his prompt action when his officer had been killed during an engagement not far from the scene of his gallantry where he fell.’
Deceased is the second son his parents have lost to the war: the father and three sons are serving in the Army.”
Charles is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and the Moulsham War Memorial at St. John’s Church, Moulsham.
His widow married the baker Adam Wright on 17th February 1920 in Great Bardfield, and she later lived at High Street, Great Bardfield. She died in 1972.
Charles’ parents were listed in the 1918 register of electors at 162 Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford. His father died on Boxing Day 1930, aged 60; his mother remarried in 1935, to Harry William Stonehold, and died in 1938. His daughter’s husband later won a Distinguished Flying Cross as a Battle of Britain pilot.