Graveside service to honour Telford war hero

By Toby Neal | Oakengates | News | Published:

A Shropshire-born serviceman who won the Military Medal but was killed in an air crash just weeks before the end of the Great War is being remembered in a service on the exact centenary of his death.

The service will be held at Hadley Cemetery

The graveside commemoration in Hadley is the latest in a six-year project by Oakengates and District branch of the Royal British Legion.

It is holding ceremonies at the final resting places of the Great War dead who are buried locally on, or close to, the centenaries of their deaths. The ceremonies typically involve an RBL chaplain, bugler playing the Last Post, standard bearer, and any descendants that can be traced.

Branch secretary Moira Wallace said: "It is on Saturday, October 20, at 11am, at Hadley Cemetery, and will remember Second Lieutenant Charles Fletcher.

"Given that this year is also 100 years of the formation of the RAF, there will be a Master Aircrewman representative from RAF Shawbury, and hopefully a presence from the local Air Training Corps. A relative will be attending from Cheshire who is an RBL branch officer in the Congleton branch."

Charles Alexander Fletcher was born in Hadley on August 17, 1895 – his father had died in Tewkesbury four months previously, leaving his mother Christina a 35-year-old widow with three other children.

Moira's researches have shown that aged six Charles was living with his mother and stepfather in Tewkesbury, and the 1911 census shows that Christina had been widowed again. Her occupation was listed as boarding house keeper.

Aged 15, Charles was a shop assistant. During the Great War he joined the Worcestershire Regiment, and was attached to the RAF. At some stage he was awarded the Military Medal.

He died aged 23 in a flying accident at Turnberry Bay, Scotland, on October 20, 1918.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website says he was in the No. 1 Fighting School, Royal Air Force, and was "son of Mrs Christina Clark Fletcher, of 10, Crescent Road, Hadley."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.


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