Charles William Forbes RAWLE (c1894-1916)
2nd Lieutenant Charles William Forbes Rawle (1892-1916) was a colleague of Cyril Sladden in the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
Charles Rawle was born in 1894 at Lewisham, Kent, the youngest of ten children and only son of Charles Rawle, an underwriter and insurance broker, and his wife, Jessie H. The family lived at 22 Burnt Ash Hill, Lee, Lewisham. For a time before the war, Rawle worked in a bank in Canada.
As a former Cadet of the Officer Training Corps, Rawle was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant on 19th November 1914 and went to Gallipoli in June 1915 with the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was wounded in the Suvla Bay landing on 6th August 1915, suffering a shrapnel bullet wound on his finger. He first met Cyril Sladden in September 1915 when they both found themselves at the base details camp at Mudros, West Point, on the island of Lemnos.
In a letter of 22nd January 1916, Cyril described his fellow officers: “Rawle on rejoining from the details some time after me was posted to C Company, which he had been in most of the time in England, having taken over my platoon when I was doing machine gun work. He is a useful fellow who generally does a job well. He is a queer fellow to get on with though until you know him. He has a natural tendency to pick quarrels with everyone he dislikes, and his likes and dislikes are pronounced. He went over to Canada while still practically a boy, and three years and more knocking about there rather accentuated his aggressive tendencies; so that I have occasionally to do what I can to keep the peace between him and others. He is generally a boisterous and lively person, gifted with remarkable powers of mimicry – of music hall artistes in particular. But on occasion he fails to know when to stop – a weakness that I always dislike very much. Meanwhile we really get on quite well, and when (as often) we differ we contrive to agree to differ.”
April 1916, the 9th Battalion was engaged in the campaign to relieve the British garrison besieged by the Turks in the city of Kut-al-Amara on the River Tigris in Mesopotamia. 2nd Lieutenant Rawle was killed in action, aged 23, on 5th April 1916. His name is recorded on the Basra Memorial and also on the memorial in the church of St Mark, Lewisham.