India General Service Medal (1854) with clasp 'Samana 1891'
Charles was born in around 1865 in St John's, South East London. We don't know anything about his family or his early life. On the 13th March 1890 he enlisted into the Manchester Regiment in Ashton-under-Lyne. Before this he had been working as an engineer.
When he joined the Army Charles was 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds. He had a 'sallow' complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He was a member of the Church of England. He was given the service number 2829 and began his training at the Regimental Depot in Ashton.
After training he was sent to join the 1st Battalion in Ireland on the 20th May. Charles only stayed with them until September, and then he was posted to India to join the 2nd Battalion at Sealkote, now Sialkot in Pakistan. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 10th November 1890.
After 8 months in Sialkot Charles went to war. The 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment was one of the units ordered to put down a rebellion in the Miranzai Valley on the North West Frontier with Afghanistan. Charles was one of the 300 Manchester Regiment soldiers who took part in this campaign, which was called the Miranzai Expedition. It lasted from the 3rd to the 25th May 1891. Samana is the name of the mountain range that rises out of the Miranzai Valley. The British fought hard to capture it.
We don't know what Charles did during the rest of his time in India. The 2nd Battalion moved to Dinapore, now Danapur in Bihar State during 1892 and stayed there until it returned to the UK.
Charles began to be paid an extra penny (1d) per day Good Conduct Pay on the 13th March 1892. He received an increase to 2d per day on the same date in 1896. He was promoted to Corporal on the 24th January 1893, and then again, to Lance Sergeant, on the 17th March 1896. This was only a temporary appointment, which ended on the 28th April. Charles gained the rank again on the 26th January 1897.
On the 4th August 1897 Charles was convicted of misconduct and reduced to the rank of Corporal. We don't know what he did wrong. He was in trouble again just after Christmas 1897. On the 27th December he was convicted by a Court Martial of 'conduct to the prejudice' of good order and discipline. He was Confined to Barracks for 4 days, forfeited 1d per day of his Good Conduct Pay, and he was reduced to the rank of Private.
The 2nd Battalion returned to the UK on the 21st January 1898. Charles had enlisted for 7 years in the Regular Army, to be followed by 5 in the Army Reserve, but because he was overseas when this point was reached the Army was allowed to change his service to 8 years followed by 4. He was transferred to the reserve on the 26th March 1898. Charles was now a civilian, free to find a home and a job, but he could be called back to the Army in an emergency at any point.
On the 12th November 1899 an emergency arose and Charles was recalled. The emergency was the British defeats and casualties in the opening weeks of the Boer War, which had begun in October 1899. After two weeks at the Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne training and receiving equipment Alfred was sent to South Africa. The 1st Battalion of The Manchester Regiment had taken casualties during the early fighting and were now under siege in Ladysmith.
Charles could not get to the 1st Battalion, so he joined other reinforcements in the 4th Provisional Battalion. This took part in the Relief of Ladysmith that broke the siege on the 28th February 1900. Charles was now able to join the 1st Battalion and fight with them during the rest of the war, which ended on the 31st May 1902. Charles returned to the UK on the 6th August 1902 and was released from the Army 3 weeks later.
The rest of Charles' life is a mystery. As well as his India General Service Medal he was also awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasp 'Relief of Ladysmith' and the King's South Africa Medal with the clasps 'South Africa 1901' and 'South Africa 1902' for his Army service.