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In rememberance

Charles Harry Petford

Private Charles Harry Petford was the oldest son of Frederick Charles and Martha Petford. He was always known as Harry. He was born in Broughton Green, Hanbury but lived most of his childhood and teenage years at Stone Cottage, High House Lane in Tardebigge, attending Tardebigge School. Stone Cottage was a tied cottage owned by the farmer who lived at High House Farm and as a young man, Harry followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a farm labourer.

He was 19 when the First World War began. He joined the Worcestershire regiment, 27th Battalion (regimental number 203453)

During 1917 he was sent to France and then to Savy, a village 6.5 km west of St Quentin. Savy was taken by the 32nd Division on the 1st April 1917 after hard fighting, and Savy Wood was taken on the 2nd April.

Harry survived the horrors of the battles but was tragically killed accidently on the 13th May 1917, aged 22. There are no facts about how he died but the family stories say that he was shot. He was buried close to the location where he died and because it was a woodland area his grave became covered in bluebells. His grave was marked by a wooden cross with his name and number marked on it. He left behind heart-broken parents and six younger brothers and sisters. From that point on his mother could never abide looking at bluebells.

In 1919 The Savy British Cemetery was created and the graves from the battlefields and small cemeteries in the area were exhumed and reburied into it, giving the soldiers the dignity they deserved. This is now where Charles Harry Petford lies; many miles from his country home in Tardebigge. He has never been forgotten by the family and the story of his life and death will continue to be remembered. His great Niece and Nephew visited his grave in 2012 and were the first members of the family, in the 95 years since his death, who had the opportunity to travel to France to pay their respects and to remember his sacrifice.

 

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