COLLINS – Charles Claude Collins (1880-1916)

War Memorial – Hadleigh, Essex


The St James The Less church WWI plaque lists C C Collins as having died in 1916, and the memorial plaque names him as Charles C Collins.

The Hadleigh History website does not have any information for Charles C Collins (nor any other source), but I believe I have identified him.

When searching military records for a 1916 death of Charles Collins, none show up with C as a middle initial or middle name. Expanding to include non military records, one death registered in Rochford, Essex shows up (which covered Hadleigh):

  • Name: Charles C Collins
  • Death Age: 36
  • Birth Date: abt 1880
  • Registration Date: Oct-Dec 1916
  • Registration district: Rochford, Essex

Several Ancestry members link the death record to a Charles Claude Collins, whose military record shows he was born in 1880 and died in Dec 1916. Searching the other way around, there is only one matching death record for Charles Collins born c.1880 with death registered Oct-Dec 1916/Jan-Mar 1917, and that is the one above. Charles C Collins was the last to be listed on the Hadleigh War Memorial under 1916, so this record fits there too.

Charles Claude Collins was born in Ipswich, Suffolk on 10th June 1880 to parents Frederick Adolphus Collins and Emma Jane Flower, and was one of nine children (one died as a baby). His father was a Bookbinder & Gilder and the family lived in Ipswich all their lives.

  1. Frederick William Adolphus Collins – 1875-?
  2. Flora Elizabeth Collins – 1877-1967 (age 89), unmarried
  3. Maude Beatrice Collins – 1878-1949 (age 70), unmarried
  4. Charles Claude Collins – 1880-1916 (age 36), wife Alice Maud Finch
  5. George William Anthony Collins – 1882-?, wife Florence Tonks
  6. Alice Eliza Collins – 1884-1885 (age 1)
  7. Harriet Ethel Collins – 1886-1964 (age 78), husband Harry George Finch
  8. Rosa Victoria Collins – 1888-1984 (age 96), husband Herbert Arthur Haines
  9. Grace May Collins – 1890-1962 (age 72), husband Russell Charles Finter

Their mother Emma died in 1893 aged 37, leaving Frederick with eight children between the ages of 17 and 3 to look after. He did what most widowers in this situation did, and that was to swiftly remarry. Frederick married again the following year to Florence Moss, a spinster tailoress who lived just a few doors down from the family. They didn’t have any children of their own. Frederick died in 1912 at age 60, and Florence in 1927 aged 70.

In 1901, Charles age 20 was still living at home and working as a postman. Two years later he married Alice Maud Finch in Ipswich (1903) and they had three children between 1904-07 (the first of which died as a baby). In 1911, Charles was working as a cook in the St Giles Christian Mission Boys Home in London. His wife and two sons were visiting a couple in Clapham (Alice was about 7 months pregnant at the time with their forth child). Her occupation was noted as “private means”.

  1. Cyril Charles Collins – 1904-1904 (age 0)
  2. Harold Charles Collins – 1906-1969 (age 63), wife Mildred Gill
  3. Mervyn Collins – 1907-1953 (age 46), wife Gladys Cass
  4. Christopher Charles Collins – 1911-?, wife Elsie May Hudgell

On 2nd June 1915 at age 34, Charles enlisted as a Private into 3rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), Territorial Force. He gave his address as 87 Cooks Road, Kennington Park, London. He was discharged after only 5 months of home service on 12th Nov 1915 due to ill health as the “result of ordinary military service due to exposure”. He gave his address as 11 Doddington Grove, Kennington, Surrey and his trade as cook. Charles died just over a year later on 5th Dec 1916 from “phthisis” (aka tuberculosis). His death was registered in the Rochford district, which covers Hadleigh, but have no clue why he was there.

  • Name: Charles Claude Collins
  • Birth Year: Sep 1881 (age 34y 9m)
  • Enlistment Date: 2 Jun 1915
  • Enlistment Place: 47 Farringdon Street, London
  • Residence at Enlistment: 87 Cooks Road, Kennington Park, London
  • Occupation: Cook
  • Discharge Date: 12 Nov 1915
  • Discharge Reason: Medically Unfit
  • Residence at Discharge : 11 Doddington Grove, Kennington, Surrey
  • Rank: Private
  • Regiment: 3rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), Territorial Force
  • Regimental Number: L386

Charles’s pension card shows his widow’s address was 60 Queens Street, Walton, Suffolk (her parents address), so presumably moved back home after her husband died. Their children were aged 10, 9 and 5. Alice remarried in 1920 to the very recently widowed James Horsnell (a Blacksmith, 30 years her senior), but had already had one child with him whilst his first wife was still alive in May 1919. The had one more child in 1921 and lived in Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex (no where near Hadleigh). Alice died in 1964 in Suffolk aged 83 (her second husband had died some years previous in 1934 age 75).