Charles Dawson was born in 1894, the son of Harriet and Alfred Dawson, a Sapper with the Royal Engineers, of 9 Smelt Houses, near Copper Street, Macclesfield.
In 1901, seven year old Charles was living at 9 Smelt Houses with his parents and siblings Beatrice (8) and Emily (5). Ten years later, the family had moved to 67 Saville Street, and Charles was employed as an embroiderer at Hewetson’s Albion Mills in London Road.
Charles was educated at St Peter’s School and attended St Peter’s Church and Sunday School, and the Men’s Reading Room. He was well-known as a footballer, playing for St Peter’s Football Club, and at one time was in the Boy Scouts.
On 5th November 1912, at the age of 18, Charles attested in Macclesfield to serve with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, receiving service number 11081. He was described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 109 pounds and had a 30 inch chest, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. Charles joined the regiment at Wrexham three days later, and was posted as a Private with the 1st Battalion on 14th March 1913. However, it seems that army life did not suit him, as he paid £18 to buy himself out of the army one month later on 18th April 1913.
Charles enlisted in the Macclesfield Territorials (7th Cheshire Regiment) shortly after the outbreak of war, and trained at Bedford, Cambridge and Northampton. He was sent out to Egypt in 1915 with his father, Pte Alfred Dawson, relinquishing his rank of Corporal in order to do so. Father and son served together in Egypt for a time before Alfred was transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery.
Charles took part in both battles of Gaza, and died of wounds on 19 December 1917 during the capture and defence of Jerusalem; his death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 4 January 1918:
MORE SAD NEWS - MILITARY FAMILY BEREAVED
Official intimation has been received of the death in Egypt on December 19th of Pte Charles Dawson, Cheshire Regt, son of Pte Alfred Dawson and of Mrs Dawson, 71 Saville St, Macclesfield. In his last letter home the deceased soldier stated: "There will be some sad news for Macclesfield people, as some of our boys have fairly caught it."
Private Dawson was a native of Macclesfield and received his education at St Peter's School. He was twenty-four years of age and attended St Peter's Church and Sunday School, being also connected with the Reading Room. In civil life he was employed at the St George's Street Mill of Councillor A W Hewetson. Private Dawson enlisted in the Territorials shortly after the outbreak of war and was sent out to Egypt about two years ago. The deceased soldier participated in both the Gaza battles. Pte Dawson formerly played with St Peter's Football Club, and at one time was in the Boy Scouts.
Pte Harry Dawson, his brother, is serving in France with a Labour battalion. He has been at the front twelve months. Pte Harry is 26 years of age and, like his brother, was formerly employed at Councillor Hewetson's. He was slightly wounded in the face about four months ago. The father, Pte Alfred Dawson, Ches Regt, is in Egypt. Before the war, he had served ten years in the Royal Engineers, but on the outbreak of hostilities patriotically re-enlisted. He was drafted out to Egypt along with his son, Charles, who resigned his corporal's stripes in order to accompany his father. They were together for a while in Egpyt, but became separated when the father was transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery. The father is forty-nine years of age and was formerly employed by Messrs G Roylance and Co. A brother-in-law, Pte W Staniforth, Ches Regt, is in Egypt, and six other relatives are serving.
Private Charles Dawson is buried in Grave Ref. P.21 in Jerusalem War Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Charles Dawson, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Charles Dawson is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael's Church and St Peter’s Church war memorials.
In 1911, Charles Mitchell lived next door at 69 Saville Street. He also served with the 1/7th Cheshire Regiment in Egypt and died on 20th December 1917, the day after Charles Dawson.
Son of Pte Alfred Dawson, brother of Pte Harry Dawson, and brother-in-law of Pte W. Staniforth, who all survived the war.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 4 January 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)
Research by Rosie Rowley, Congleton.