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. There are two Collins’ on the plaque, who are unrelated.

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. They 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).

What of Charles’s eight siblings?

  1. Frederick William Adolphus Collins was born in 1875. He appears in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, but I loose track of him after this.
  2. Flora Elizabeth Collins was born in 1877. She never married and died in 1967 age 89. In the 1939 register she was living with her sister Harriet and husband, and noted as “incapacitated”.
  3. Maude Beatrice Collins was born in 1878. She also never married and died in 1949 age 70. In the 1911 census her occupation was noted as “bookbinder”. I’ve not found her in the 1939 register.
  4. Charles Claude Collins – 1880-1916 (as above)
  5. George William Anthony Collins was born in 1882. He married Florence Ellen TONKS in 1907 and they had two children before he died in 1911 age 29 (just after the census was take).
  6. Alice Eliza Collins was born in 1884 and died the following year age 1.
  7. Harriet Ethel Collins was born in 1886. She married Harry George FINCH in 1912 and look to have had one child in 1920. Harriet died in 1964 age 78, and her husband in 1976 age 91.
  8. Rosa Victoria Collins was born in 1888. She married Herbert Arthur HAINES in 1915 and look to have had one child in 1920. Herbert died in 1979 age 91 and Rosa in 1984 age 96. 
  9. Grace May Collins was born in 1890. She married Russell Charles FINTER in 1916 and they had two children born 1920 and 1925. Grace  died in 1962 age 72, and her husband in 1966 age 80.

Family Tree

Charles’s father Frederick Adolphus COLLINS was the last of five children born to George COLLINS, a Basket Maker (as was his father), and Susannah SMITH. His siblings were called William George, George William, Flora Susannah and Susannah Flora. No doubt if there had been another boy born, he would have been called Adolphus Frederick!

Charles’s mother Emma Jane FLOWER (aka FLOWERS) was the third of six children born to William FLOWER, a Brewer and Labourer, and Harriet NOBLE. Both William and Harriet’s fathers worked as Agricultural Labourers in Suffolk. William died in 1872 aged 48 and Harriet remarried two years later to widower David BOSTON (11 years her junior), who then died in 1884. In 1891 Harriet was working as a Nurse in Hammersmith, but I loose track of her after this.

Link To Hadleigh

Other than his death being registered in the Rochford district (which cover Hadleigh), I have found no link for Charles to Hadleigh. He must have lived there briefly before dying.