Photograph of Charles in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: MR/3/A/6
Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Cape Colony', 'South Africa 1901' 'South Africa 1902'
Charles was born on the 13th April 1879 in Ivybridge near Plymouth in Devon. His father was called Edward Heathcote Tayleur and his mother was Susan Grace. He had 4 older siblings; William Heathcote junior, Eric, Mary Eveline and Archie. We don't know whether he was the youngest child.
Edward senior was a 'gentleman', living on his own means. In 1881 he lived with his family at Beacon Villa in Ivybridge.
Charles was educated at boarding school. In 1891 he was a pupil at North Hill House Preparatory School for Boys in Plymouth. We don't know where else he went to school.
The Boer War broke out in October 1899. The British Army suffered several defeats early in the war, and it began sending as many soldiers as it could to South Africa. Charles decided to join the Army. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers on the 15th March 1900.
This regiment recruited in Western Ireland. The 3rd Battalion was a unit of the Militia, made up of men who trained together once a year and lived as civilians for the rest of the time. Charles was 5 feet 8 inches tall when he was commissioned. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 3rd July.
Three battalions of the Connaught Rangers served in South Africa during the war, and it is probable that Charles served there in the 3rd Battalion. He was awarded the 'Cape Colony', 'South Africa 1901' and 'South Africa 1902' clasps for his service during the war.
When the 1901 Census was taken in early April Charles was with his parents at their home, Handsworth Lodge, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
On the 28th January 1902 Charles transferred to the Regular Army and returned to the rank of Second Lieutenant. He joined the Manchester Regiment. He was sent to South Africa on the 1st June and joined the 1st Battalion of his new regiment. The war had ended the day before. He was based in the country until the 28th December when he returned to the UK.
After 4 months in the UK Charles rejoined the 1st Battalion in Singapore in late April 1903. He was promoted back to Lieutenant on the 19th August.
The 1st Battalion served in Singapore until September 1904. It then moved to Secunderabad in India. Charles passed 2 courses of instruction during his time here. He qualified in Transport during 1905 and in Mounted Infantry during 1907. The next year he attempted a Musketry course, but failed.
During October 1908 the 1st Battalion moved south to Kamptee. Charles spent 6 months here before returning to the UK in March 1909. He had been posted to the Regimental Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.
Perhaps Charles did not enjoy Depot life, because on the 3rd January 1910 he was seconded to the Colonial Office, which was responsible for Britain's colonies outside of India. He joined the Southern Nigeria Regiment, although we don't know which battalion he was posted to.
Colonial units such as this were popular with officers because they offered a greater chance of seeing action, as well as a lower cost of living. Charles spent just over a year in Nigeria. He was back in the UK when the 1911 Census was taken in early April. He was boarding at 3 Castleton Road in West Kensington, London.
Charles returned to the Manchester Regiment on the 6th June 1911. We believe he joined the 2nd Battalion at the Curragh Camp in County Kildare, Ireland.
Charles resigned his commission on the 25th May 1912. On the 13th February someone who he owed money to had petitioned that Charles should be declared bankrupt. Officers' living costs could be greater than their salary, but they were expected to be able to pay their expenses. The fact that he could not might have led to Charles' resignation.
That July 'the Petitioning Creditors' who would deal with Charles' affairs were 'unable to ascertain' his 'present residence'. Despite this he was judged to be bankrupt on the 22nd August. A public examination of Charles' finances was held on the 1st October at the Bankruptcy Buildings on Carey Street in London.
Charles was released from bankruptcy on the 11th September 1913. There is nothing to suggest his address was ever discovered.
By mid 1914 Charles had left the UK. We know this because he married Lily Ethel Stone at St John's Church in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia on the 18th July.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and the British Army began expanding massively. As more and more new units were formed Charles must have decided he wanted to serve again and returned to the UK. On the 17th April 1915 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire) Regiment. He became a member of the 10th (Reserve) Battalion.
Charles arrived in Egypt on the 16th June. Soon afterwards he was sent to join the fighting in Gallipoli. The 10th Battalion was not a front line unit, so he was attached to the 1/8th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. We don't know when he arrived in Gallipoli, but he was not there for long.
On the 7th August the British launched an attack near the village of Krithia. It was intended to divert Turkish troops away from the British landings at Suvla Bay. The British were able to advance, but were then forced back by a Turkish counterattack. The Turks continued to attack for the next 2 days, inflicting many casualties on the British.
One of the men killed was Charles. He died on the 7th August, aged 36. After the war his grave could not be found, so he is one of the 20885 men commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. Charles' name can be found between Panel 170 and 171.
We don't know whether Lily had come to the UK with Charles after the war began. If she did, then she had returned to Australia by early 1922, when she was living in Moonee Ponds in Melbourne. The couple had no children. She died in 1952.
Charles' medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in November 2000. As well as his Queen's South Africa Medal, Charles was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.