Charles Gittins was a well known local figure in Stourbridge. He was a member of the Baptist Chapel in Hanbury Hill and had been Secretary of the Wollaston Cricket Club. In a letter from the front line published in the County Express in 1915 he wrote, 'Practically the whole of the old Wollaston cricket eleven are either at the front or training. Brown, Foxall and myself are out here, while Pagett is training with the 2/7th and Hawkins with the South Staffords and Davis and Oliver are with the ASC in the Dardanelles. Not bad for a local cricket eleven' He volunteered for the Warwicks in 1914 and joined the 15th Battalion, (2nd Birmingham Pals). They went to France in December 1915 with the 5th Division. When the German attack on Verdun started in February 1916, they took over the front line at Arras vacated by the French. The trenches were at The Labyrinth north of Roclincourt. It was generally a quiet front, but in the chalk below much mining took place. On the 4th June the Germans exploded five large mines just in front of the British line and took advantage of the confusion to carry out a strong raid. Private Charles Gittins was killed in action, probably trapped below in a British mine. He is commemorated on the Arras, Stourbridge, St. Thomas's church and Baptist chapel Memorials.
Market Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1AQ
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