Charles Harry Humphreys was born on the 9th January 1918, according to the 1939 National Register and his birth was registered in the Hawarden District (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page321). He was the son of Peter and Amelia Margaret Helen Humphreys (nee Spencer) who had married in Liverpool:-
All Saints Church Parish Registers – Stonycroft, Liverpool
Page 46 No. 92 4th October 1915 Peter HUMPHREYS, 25, Bachelor, Miner, Fern Cottage, New Road, Rhosddu, Wrexham, Denbighshire, Humphrey HUMPHREYS, Miner & Amelia Margaret Helen SPENCER, 30, Spinster, Shop Assistant, 25, St. Oswald Street, William SPENCER, Corporation Labourer. (By Licence). Witnesses:- John Edward DAULBY & Elizabeth HUMPHREYS.
Peter Humphreys is seen on the 1911 census , living at Fern Cottage, New Road, Rhosddu, Wrexham, Denbighshire, with his parents and siblings in 6 rooms. Peter’s father Humphrey Humphreys, 54, was head of the household and a Coal Miner Hewer. This is the first census where the household filled in the census form, but he omitted to put his place of birth, why didn’t Humphrey fill his place of birth in? His wife Margaret, 51, tells us that she had been born in Hawarden Flintshire and they had been married 31 years and 11 children had been born to the, but sadly 5 had died. Their children were Herbert, 23 and Peter, 20 , both single and both, like their father were Coal Miner Hewers. Elizabeth, 18 was single and Humphrey,8 was at School. There was a Boarder in the household, John Daulby, who was also a witness at their wedding. John Daulby was single, 21 and a Butcher. Also there was Lizzie Shone, 42, who had been married 22 years, 5 children had been born, sadly 2 died, with Edgar Shone, 19, who was at school, both were visitors.
Amelia Margaret Helen Spencer was living in 1911 at 25a, St. Oswald Street, Old Swan, West Derby, Liverpool, Lancashire in 6 rooms. Head of the household was William Spencer, 69, whose occupation was described as Scavenger for the City Council and had been born in West Derby, Lancashire. Amelia L., 64, tells us that they had been married for 44 years, 5 children had been born to them and were still living, and she had been born at Sea. (on previous censuses, she is described as being born on HMS Spool, Cape of Good Hope.) Three of their children were living there, Amelia, 27, single and a Manager of a Fruit Shop, born in West Derby, Charles, 26 and single was a Brick Setter, born in Henbury, Cheshire, Harry, 22 and single was a Tram Conductor, born Macclesfield. A Visitor, Mary Smith, 12 and in school had been born in West Derby, Lancashire.
The first I see of Charles Harry Humphreys with his family is on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, and it is this source that gives us the dates of birth and the occupations of the residents. The family were living at 23 Wrexham Road, Abermorddu, Caergwrle, Hawarden, Flintshire. Peter Humphreys had been born on the 18th September 1890 and was a Coal Hewer, his wife Amelia M.H. Humphreys had been born on the 2nd November 1882 and as most married women were described if they didn’t have a job, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Charles H. Humphreys, who was single, had been born on the 9th January 1918 as above and was a Labourer in an Aerodrome (probably Sealand RAF Camp). A sister Elsie Humphreys was born on the 29th August 1920, was single and like her mother was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” There was one closed or redacted record of a member of the household.*
*For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.
So we know that Charles Harry was not in the forces on the 29th September 1939, but I have no knowledge of when he enlisted or was conscripted, but he was to find himself in one of this country’s élite forces – The Royal Marines.
No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando was a battalion-sized formation of the British Commandos, formed in 1944 during the Second World War. No. 48 Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served in North West Europe, taking part in the Normandy landings and operations around Ostend and Antwerp before being disbanded after the war in January 1946.
The British Commandos were formed in 1940 by the order of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. He called for specially trained troops that would “develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast”. At first they were a small force of volunteers who carried out small raids against enemy occupied territory, but, by 1943, their role had evolved into lightly equipped assault Infantry that specialised in spearheading amphibious landings.
The man selected as the overall commander of the force was Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, a veteran of the landings at Galipoli and the Zeebrugge raid in the First World War. Initially, the Commandos were a British Army formation; the first Royal Marine Commando was formed in 1942. The Royal Marine Commandos, like all British Commandos, went through the six-week intensive commando course at Achnacarry. The course in the Scottish Highlands concentrated on fitness, speed marches, weapons training, map reading, climbing, small boat operations and demolitions both by day and by night. In 1943, the commando formation had been standardised into a small headquarters, five fighting Troops, a Heavy Weapons troop and a signals platoon. The fighting Troops consisted of 65 all ranks divided into two 30 man sections, which in turn were divided into three ten man sub sections. The Heavy Weapons Troop was made up of 3 inch Mortar and Vickers machine gun teams.
No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando was formed in March 1944 and was the last commando unit formed during the Second World War. It was formed by the conversion of the 7th Royal Marine Battalion and the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisations (MNBDOs) defence battalions to commando duties. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Moulton, it carried out a shortened commando course at Achnacarry and then joined the all Royal Marine 4th Special Service Brigade alongside No. 41, No. 46 and No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commandos.
Assigned to the Normandy landings, 4th Special Service Brigade was given the task of seizing a number of coastal villages, including Luc-sur-Mer, St. Aubin-sur-Mer and Langrune-sur-Mer. The Brigade then had to push inland and capture the heavily fortified strong point near the radar station at Douvres, which they were required to hold on to for 48 hours before being relieved.
Landing on the Canadian Juno Beach, No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando was the first Commando unit to land near Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and started the assault on Langrune-sur-Mer, which was liberated after heavy fighting and severe losses. They then held a position awaiting reinforcement and equipment to land.
The rest of 4th Special Service Brigade carried out two attacks to take a German hill position near the village of Dozule. After the failure of both attacks, No. 48 was reinforced by No. 46 and No. 47 Commandos. Reinforced, No.48 Commando bypassed the village of Dozule to occupy the high ground at point 120, in the process cutting off a number of retreating Germans and destroying their vehicles.
Instead of being withdrawn after 48 hours, No. 4 Special Service Brigade continued in the Allied advance to the Seine. On route liberating Pont l’Eveque, Saint-Maclou, Pavilly, Yerville, Motteville, Yvetot, Bermonville and Valmont before coming out of the line on 18 August 1944.
The UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 for Charles Harry Humphreys tells us that he was born on the 9th January 1918 in Caergwrle, Flintshire and he had “Died in War Service” on the 6th June 1944.
Charles Harry had been buried first, probably on the day he died at St.Aubin-Sur-Mer and then reburied on the 29th November 1944 at the Bayeux British Cemetery. The 12 men on his Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report had died on the same day, that doesn’t mean that there were not any more.
Peter Humphreys died in 1971 (Wrexham Vol. 8a Page 1915) 25 years after losing his wife Amelia, who died in the March quarter of 1946 (HAW/30A/54).
Peter and Amelia Humphreys were alive to hear the devastating news and to bear the grief of losing their son, but may not have been alive to see this name being added to the Hope WW2 War Memorial for his sacrifice for us all to be remembered for Perpetuity.