Charles Henry Coppen

Charles Henry Coppen 1885 – 1916

Charles was the fourth child of parents Henry and Harriet Eliza (née Holness). His eldest sister, Edith Harriet, was born in 1881, but between them, his brother Harry Frederick, born in 1882, had died in 1883.

Later in 1883, Harriet gave birth to his sister Ethel Winifred, with Charles being born in the 3rd quarter of 1885. The children were all born in Shepherdswell and baptised at St Andrew’s in the village.

Ethel died in 1887, aged just three. The final sibling, Edward Ethelbert, was born in 1889.

Henry was a carpenter, as shown in the 1891 Census, when the family were living at Wakeling Cottage on Church Hill. They were still living on Church Hill in 1901, by which time Henry was also the undertaker, with Charles employed as an apprentice carpenter. The 1911 Census gave their address as 4 The Terrace, by which time both Charles and his brother were working as carpenters, with Henry still a carpenter and undertaker. Harriet died on 25th June 1914, at the age of 68.

Charles enlisted at Dover when the War broke out; although his War records have not survived, recollections in the Dover Express say that both he and his brother joined up as soon as War broke out.

Charles fought in the 6th Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) and became a lance corporal with the service no. G/9756. He died of wounds on the 10th October 1916, at the age of 31. He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt L’Abee, Somme in France, with the inscription ‘faithful unto death’ on his gravestone.

Edward had died the previous year. Charles’ death left only his father and sister Edith in the family.