Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Charley Ottey
Died 30th July 1916, aged 18
Wounded in France, died in a military hospital in Huddersfield
Charley Ottey was one of nine children born to James and Elizabeth Ottey who lived at what is now 18 Victoria Street in Quorn.
Charley enlisted around the time of his 18th birthday in November 1915. He was a small lad; 5 feet 4 ½ inches tall and weighing only 8 stones, but this made no difference, and like many others he was sent out to fight in France and was soon in the line of fire. On 4th July1916, at the very beginning of the Battle of the Somme, after having been on the Western Front for only a month, Charley received gunshot wounds to his left leg and right arm. He was cared for in a field hospital until he was sent back to a military hospital in Huddersfield. He wrote home that he was very happy in the hospital and that his wounds were slowly healing. His family must have felt very relieved, which must have made it even harder when the news came that Charley had died of pneumonia. He was returned home and buried in Quorn on the afternoon of Wednesday 2nd August 1916.
The following item appeared in the Loughborough Monitor on 10th August 1916:
“Soldier's Death 1916
The death of Pte. Charles Ottey took place at Huddersfield on Sunday morning. The deceased soldier was wounded on July 1st [sic], and was removed to Huddersfield, where he contracted double pneumonia and died, as stated, on Sunday. He enlisted in December last, and was attached to the Sherwood Foresters. He was 18 years of age, and previous to his enlistment he was employed at Messrs M Wright and Sons, Quorn Mills.”
Quorn Parish Magazine in September 1916 recorded Charley’s death:
“After what we wrote in the last Magazine about Charley Ottey, it was a great shock to learn on Sunday, July 30th, that though his wounds had been doing well, pneumonia had set in and that he had passed away at the War Hospital, at Huddersfield, early that morning. His body was brought to Quorn and was buried on Wednesday, August 2nd. The coffin was shrouded with the Union Jack, and had upon it a laurel wreath, presented by his comrades of the C.L.B... There was an escort of Quorn Companies of the C.L.B. and V.T.C.…..”
Charley had been a Sergeant in the local C.L.B (Church Lads Brigade) and was also in the V.T.C. (Volunteer Training Corps). He was an active member of the Church, which included being a Sunday School teacher, leading boy in the choir and he often sang solos.
The Rev Henry Rumsey conducted Charley’s funeral service in front of large congregation. They sang ‘Glorious things of Thee are spoken’, ‘Fight the Good Fight’ and the organist played the Dead March from ‘Saul’. Floral tributes were received from employees at Wright’s factory, Belgian refugee families from the village, wounded soldiers from Huddersfield Hospital, nurses and the matron.
With the flag of St George flying from the Church tower at half-mast, the hymn ‘Let saints on Earth’ was sung around the grave, and a bugler sounded the last post. A muffled peal of bells was rung in the evening.
Every year Charley is remembered and a wreath of poppies is placed on his grave in St Bartholomew’s Churchyard.
1) A modern photograph of the Ottey family home, 18 Victoria Street (the cottage on the right).
2) Charley’s grave in St Bartholomew’s Churchyard.