Born in 1894 at South Woodford, son of Henry (Coal Carman) and Eliza Nightingale. In 1901 he is listed as living with his family at 12 Chase Road, South Woodford. In 1911 he is listed A Van Guard on the Great Eastern Railway and living with his mother and some siblings at 22 Chase Road, South Woodford. At the time of the Census his father was in the West Ham Workhouse, Union Road, Leytonstone, and died there later that year. His mother worked as a Charwoman.
Because of his rank, the Battalion and date of death, it is believed that Charles Nightingale had left the Railway and was a regular soldier in Chatham when war broke out in 1914. He has no record in the GER Roll of Honour.
On 24th August 1914 the Battalion landed in Le Havre, and was involved in the Battles of Le Cateau and the Marne among others during this period of frantic fighting to stop the German advance.
Early in October they were involved in the defence of Missy sur Aisne, with the Germans entrenched only 350 yards away, and ‘B’ Company in particular suffering from sniper fire. On 3th October 1914 the Germans shelled the Essex positions every quarter of an hour during the day, which stopped works to improve the defences. One man was killed, two wounded. The shelling began again on 4th August at 10.00. Things were quieter on 5th October until what was described as “brisk shelling” began at 17.00, and then sniping on the east of the village from 17.30. At 18.00 the Battalion was relieved by French forces. Charles Nightingale was one of those killed by the enemy action on 5th October 1914.
He was the first of the brothers to be lost. His three other brothers who died were Rifleman James Henry Nightingale (1915) Lance Corporal Frederick John Nightingale (1915) Trooper Walter Henry Nightingale (1917).
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
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