Clement Doubleday was born circa 1893 in Chester, the son of Fredrick & Martha Doubleday (nee Lloyd) who had married in St. Oswald’s Church, Chester in 1879 (CE15/8/169) and on the 1901 census the family were living at Chain Maker Row, Saltney, Flintshire. Head of the household was Frederick, 38 a Railway Wagon Fitter, born in Macclesfield. His wife Martha, 36 had been born in Chester. Their eldest son James Lloyd Doubleday, 18, was a Smith’s Striker for a Blacksmith with daughter Lucy, 14, Frederick, 12, Clement, 8 all born in Chester. Their other siblings, Henry, under 1 month, Martha 10, May, 6 and Constance 3 were all born in Saltney, Flintshire.
Census day in 1911 was the 2nd April, and Clement enlisted on the 6th April 1911 so as I cannot find him on that census, perhaps he was en route to sign on, any help appreciated. His brother Frederick, 22 was also in the Services, on H.M.S. Cornwall in Devon as a Stoker. His other brother James Lloyd Doubleday, also lost his life in the conflict and his story is told on his own page. Click on the link to read his story.
The boy’s family were living at Green Lane, Saltney (4 rooms) on the 1911 census and Frederick Snr., 50, and a Nut & Bolt Screwing Machineman, states that he and Martha had been married 31 years while Martha, 49, states that 11 children had been born to them, 11 were still living, but 2 had died, so there is a mystery there, just one of at least 2 mysteries in this story. Daughter May, 16, single and “At Home”, Constance, 13, Henry Wright, 10 and Doris, 8 had all been born in Saltney, Flintshire.
Clement enlisted on the 6th April 1911 as stated above, he was 18 years and 3 months old, he wasn’t married and had been a Labourer. He was described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, his weight was 116 lbs, his chest was 32 inches and the range of expansion was 2 and 1/2 inches. He had Eyes of Blue, his hair was Dark Brown and he had Tattoo Marks – “C.D.” Butterfly & Star back right forearm. Bust of Buffalo Bill back left forearm. He was Church of England
I have extracted his Service Records and they make interesting reading, he must have been a character, as he was often in trouble especially in 1916, just before he embarked to go to fight in France. He was absent without leave 6 times between the 29th July and the 13th October 1916. He was Severely Reprimanded several times and he forfeited many days pay. I will send a copy of my notes if anyone would like them.
In the meantime, Clement had married Ethel Maria Lewis in Hoole on the 16th May 1914 and their son Clement Thomas Doubleday was born on the 23rd November 1914. Ethel’s address was 16, Philip Street, Hoole then and was to remain her home throughout this story.
His papers tell us that he was admitted to Hospital on the 15th March 1916, but does not say why.
He embarked in Southampton 25th October 1916 and disembarked in Rouen the next day. This was 9 days after he had done 7 days C.B. (Confined to Barracks) at Litherland. One of his six misdemeanours.
Clement Doubleday in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 does not tell us his first Thatre of War, but does tell us that he entered it on the 2nd November 1916 and was killed in Action on the 18th February 1917.
There must have been a lack of communication between Clement and his wife and mother as they both sent letters to enquire if there was any news of him:-
First there is a letter from Ethel dated 17th February 1917 (Parts of letter missing) – I have been making enquiries as regards to my husband. Pt. C. Doubleday of the 14th Bn R.W.F. 16 Platoon British Expeditionary Force France. I am rather …. to know his whereabouts. I have heard nothing from him for… weeks. I have recently wrote to the War Office in reply …. letter. I have been advised to write to you so if you would be …….. as to let me have any information about him I would be very …… received it please oblige me yours Sincerley(sic), Mrs. Doubleday
And the one from his mother Martha, badly burnt on right side of page, lots of words missing, but can make out what Clement’s mother was asking –
“Please will you kindly ….me know if their (sic) is …… truth in the news I …..ve received concerning my ….ns .death. C. Doubleday , 14th R.W.F.
…oping you will pardon … in taking the liberties …..trouble you. Please oblige. Yours sincerely (Mrs.) M. Doubleday , No 5 Green Lane, Saltney Chester.”
Another letter from Ethel this time –
16 Philip St., Hoole, Chester.
Sir, I an (sic) sory (sic) as I have …. not sent you my ….baby Birth as I have ….not be able to go out …is this it and hope to have it back soon. From Mrs. E.M. Doubleday , …Philip St., Hoole, …ster
continuation of letter –
…d this was my .usband address (sic) .2 79 Pte. C. Doubleday, 3 R.W.F.
From Shrewsbury (Records) address to Ethel at 16, Philip St., Hoole, Chester.
Will you please insert your husband’s regimental number below and return without delay. Ink very faded – …. Birth certificate of your child will be returned to you on the ……. by you received here.
Another slip of paper giving Clements Regimental number, sent by Ethel.
Ministry of Pensions letter, dated 11th September 1917, informing Ethel that she had been awarded 18s 9d a week for herself and one child, with effect from 10th September 1917
Names and Addresses of all the Relatives of the above-named Soldier in each of the degrees specified below that are now living.
Wife of the Soldier – Ethel Maria CHAMBERS, 16, Phillip St., Hoole, Chester.
Child of the Soldier – Cyril Thomas DOUBLEDAY born 8th June 1917, 16, Phillip St., Hoole, Chester.
Father of the Soldier – Fredk. DOUBLEDAY, Green Lane, Saltney, Chester.
Mother of the Soldier – Martha DOUBLEDAY, Green Lane, Saltney, Chester.
Full-blood brothers of the Soldier – Fredk. DOUBLEDAY, age not known and James DOUBLEDAY, age not known, Green Lane, Saltney, Chester.
No Half-blood Brothers
Full-blood Sisters – Martha WOODCOCK, age no known, Cable St., Saltney, Chester.
No Half-blood Sisters
Declaration signed by his widow E. M. CHAMBERS of 16, Phillips St., Hoole, Chester on the 15th January 1920 and witnessed by the Vicar of Hoole, E.A. PAVITT, Hoole Vicarage, Chester.
The above gives the information that Ethel had remarried to Frederick Thomas Chamber at the All Saints Church, Hoole in 1919 (Cheshire West CE31/3/166).
Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional Information: Son of F. Doubleday, of Saltney, Chester; husband of Ethel Maria Chambers (formerly Doubleday), of 16, Phillip St., Hoole, Chester
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states Clements age as 20 years when he died, but this is obviously wrong, he must have been 24 years of age then. This is the other mystery.
Clement Doubleday in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 confirms his regimental details and tells us that he was born and resided in Saltney.
Clement Doubleday in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the Sole Legatee was his widow Ethel M, (£3 16s 8d paid 22nd December 1919 and Widow Ethel M. CHAMBERS paid 28th January 1921 £7 13s 4d. = making up the War Gratuity of £11.10s. 0d)