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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Charles Kirbell White

Died 1st September 1918, aged 33
Beaulencourt, France

Charles’ background

Charles was the eldest son of five children of George and Mary White, who lived in a large house called Rose Cottage, which was on Loughborough Road in Quorn. The family were very well known in the village, being very involved in the Parish Church and George holding many prominent roles in the community.

Charles was very well thought of in Quorn. He was a respected cricket player and played for the village team. He was also very musical and from 1905 was both the organist and choirmaster at Quorn St Bartholomew’s Church. Prior to enlisting he worked for Alliance Insurance at their offices in Leicester.

Joining the Leicestershire Regiment
In February 1916, aged 30, Charles joined the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and was attached to the 110th Trench Mortar Battery. After having served a period in France, he came back to England to take up a commission. Having already lost one son, George and Mary must have been very anxious when Charles joined up, and sadly less than three months before the armistice, Charles, now a Second Lieutenant, was killed in France.

Remembering Charles
In the Quorn Parish Magazine in October 1918, the vicar, Henry Rumsey, talks with great feeling about the loss:
“Charlie White’s death in action means to us the loss of a trusted worker. Since March 1905, he has been our organist and choirmaster. For the last nine of these thirteen years I can speak of him from my own personal experience, and I can say that I have found him a faithful and efficient colleague, and one with whom it was a pleasure to work. As a soldier he was a good type of the man who, whilst not born to fight, none the less by quiet and unobtrusive grit proved himself a brave and trustworthy soldier. I had many cheerful letters from him, and his loss is to me that of a personal friend. What it is to his family, who have now lost two of their three sons, I will not attempt to write.”

Charles’ death coincided with the death of Hubert Mason Moore. This was especially poignant as Charles’ brother and two of Hubert’s brothers had all died on the same day, two years previously in May 1915. After the war the two families paid for and dedicated a stained glass window in the church to commemorate the lives of their lost sons. This is shown under the entry for Hubert Mason Moore, Artefact 2292.

A memorial service was held on Sunday 15th September 1918 in Quorn Parish Church. The Loughborough Monitor reported the service as follows:
An impressive memorial service was held at the Parish Church on Sunday, September 15 in memory of Lieut. C. K. White, late organist of the church, Lieut. H. Clarke, and Privates D. Moore, W. Moore and H. Moore, sons of Mr W. Moore (Vicar’s warden). Ptes D. and W. Moore have been reported missing since May 13, 1915, and Pte H. Moore was killed on September 5. The services was conducted by the Rural Dean (Rev. W. King). Appropriate prayers were said and passages of Scripture chanted, and the hymns ‘Weary of Earth’ (to a tune composed by Lieut. White) and ‘On the Resurrection Morn’ were sung by the choir and congregation. The Rev. W. King gave a most appropriate address. The congregation was both large and representative, for in addition to the families of the deceased there were many friends and sympathisers. The urban district council were represented, and the Quorn Cricket Club, and also business representatives of the business firm with which the men were formerly connected. Mr Dearden of Leicester, presided at the organ, and at the conclusion played the ‘Dead March’.”

There is more evidence the Charles was not just an accomplished choirmaster and organist, but that he was also a composer. When the triptych memorial was unveiled and dedicated in the Church in 1919, the final hymn was ‘Oh valiant hearts’, and the order of service confirms that this was sung to a tune composed by C K White.

A bronze memorial plaque was produced for every soldier who died, and sent to his family. They became known as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ and are about 5 inches (12 cm) in diameter. The memorial plaques for Frank and Charles White are still held by their family today.

Charles and his brother Frank are commemorated not only on Quorn War Memorial, but also on the two Rolls of Honour which still hang in Rawlins school today. (See Artefact 2261
and Artefact 2262).

After the war George and Mary White had a pair of silver candlesticks engraved in memory of their two much loved sons. These are still owned by their family. See Artefact 1851.

1) Charles White standing outside Rose Cottage.
Rose Cottage, on Loughborough Road, the White family home, is the tall house on the left. It was later demolished and a petrol station was built there. Today it contains three houses and is next to the Co-op. More photographs of this site over the years can be seen in Artefact 1242.
2) Charles’ silver vesta (matches) case that he took with him to France.
3) The bronze memorial plaque cast with Charles’ name, and given to the next of kin of every soldier who died.
4) The gravestone in St Bartholomew’s Churchyard for George and Mary Ann White, also commemorates the deaths of their sons Charles and Frank.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2020-01-11
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman with many thanks to Andrew Sheffield
 Artefact ID: 2275
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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