Born in 1896 at South Woodford, son of Thomas (Postman) and Sarah Ann Cracknell. 1901: With his family at 6 Norfolk Villas, Peel Road, South Woodford. 1911: A Junior Clerk to a Coal Contractor, with his family at “Alvercott” Carnarvon Road, South Woodford. Having enlisted in London, he arrived in France on 1st May 1915.
On the evening of 21st July 1916 the Battalion left Buire in the direction of Fricourt as a reserve for 152 Brigade. From 22/26 July they camped in the open near to Becourt Chateau, twice relocating to avoid enemy shelling. During the night of 26th July they moved again, this time to Mametz Wood which was a reserve position, but under almost constant enemy artillery bombardment, including gas shells. Compounding their misery, the trenches were shallow and basic, lacking any meaningful protection against the shell fire. It was noted that 30th July 1916 was a day of terrific enemy fire, which would claim Charles Cracknell. In all, 130 men would be lost to the enemy Gunners over a five day period, while serving in supposedly less exposed “reserve” positions.
He is also commemorated on the All Saints Church War Memorial at Little Shelford Cambridgeshire. It is suggested that his parents at one time lived at 7 Mount View within the village.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian