Unit: Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
Commemorated: Etaples Memorial, France
Born on the 9th January 1891, Charles was the brother of Alice May and Walter H. Adams. Before he immigrated to Canada, Charles lived with his Aunt, Sarah Adams at Kirkby-on-Bain. He was a farmer by trade and 25 years old when he answered the call to arms on the 7th March 1916.
His training was short, sailing from Halifax on the S.S. Olympic on the 28th June 1916, arriving in Liverpool on the 5th July 1916. Another short period of training followed and, Charles finally arrived in France on the 28th August 1916. Charles had a very short war. He was transferred to his unit (The PBLI) on the 23rd September 1916; he received gun shot wounds to his head and was admitted to No.1 General Hospital Etaples on the 14th October 1916, only a few weeks later. There he died from those wounds, on the 22nd October 1916. He had been in France only some 2 months.
Since the 1st July 1916, the Allies had been engaged in the offensive of that year, to become more generally know as the battle of the Somme. The first day of the battle became the blackest day in the history of the British Army when 60,000 men were killed or wounded within 2 hours of its start. The Canadians were introduced into this inferno in September 1916, seeing action for the first time at the Sugar Factory at Courcelette, which was adjacent to the Albert-Bapaume Road. With the Canadians was, also for the first time, the Allies secret weapon – the Tank.
By October 1916, the Canadians were engaged, in what was to become known as, the Battle of the Ancre Heights. The fighting was centred just north east of Courcelette. They were tasked to take Regina Trench and, the first attempt to do this on the 1st October, proved unsuccessful. The second assault was one week later on the 8th October. Involved was the 7th Infantry Brigade on the right, the 1st on the left with the 3rd and 9th in the centre. Charles’ unit was ordered to support the 49th Battalion CEF, which was part of the 7th Infantry Brigade on the far right. They moved from their billets, in Albert, on the 2nd October. The action of Charles’ unit is well documented in the Battalion war diary. For the period 8th-9th October 1916, The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry suffered the loss of 69 ordinary ranks, either killed or wounded, of which Charles was one. The Canadians continued with the assault, there being a third attack on Regina Trench. The position was finally taken on the 11th November 1916. It had taken 42 days and cost many thousands of casualties.