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Charles Henry Back WW1

by Jess Gibby | People, World War One

Charles Henry Back was the younger brother of William Ernest Back and is not on the Bishopsteignton War Memorial but was buried in St John’s churchyard, Bishopsteignton. He served in the Royal Navy – Service No K6263 – and was a Stoker Petty Officer during WW1. He was killed in an accident whilst serving on HMS Vivid II at Devonport on 7th January 1920.

Early Life

Charles Henry Back was born on the 7th Jan 1892.

In 1901 Charles was 8 years old, at school and was living in Radway Street with his parents Robert (an agricultural labourer) and Eliza, (née Yeoman) along with his sister Florence aged 22 years (a domestic housemaid), and Richard aged 17 years ( a plumber). Interestingly there was a visitor staying at the time of the census Ann Williams (a retired sick nurse) aged 90 years!

He married Lilian Love in Lyme Regis on Feb 12th 1919.

Military Experience

Charles  joined the Royal Navy on the 28th April 1910 aged 18 years, Service No K6263. He was described as having brown hair, with blue eyes, 5’4″ in height and his occupation at the time was a gardener. He was described early on as “capable of taking charge” and clearly rose in the ranks serving on HMS Ajax in the North Sea during the war becoming a Stoker Petty Officer.

Death and Burial

Charles survived the war but according to the Western Times he was tragically killed in an accident when he was travelling back to Rosyth to rejoin his ship. As the train was approaching Holme, near Peterborough, the carriage door flew open, he fell out and was killed instantaneously. It was his birthday, 7th January 1920, and he was 28 years old.

His wife Lilian living at 17, Avenue Road, Newton Abbot was informed, as well as his mother Elizabeth at Higher Radway Street. He is buried in St John’s churchyard on the north side of the church.[1]

Lillian’s details are  later recorded on his headstone as

Husband of Lilian Back 29, Laura Road, St Michael’s, Paignton.


Are you a descendant or relative of the Back family who clearly lost 2 sons around the Great War period? Do let us know.