36205 PTE. C. A. GOLDING. E.LANCS.
Charles Albert Golding (his army records and some Census returns record the family name as Goulding) was born in Preston in May 1898 and baptised at Preston St Peter’s on 29 May. His father was John Thomas Golding (b. 1860 in Preston), a labourer in a cotton mill. His mother was Margaret Pearson (b. 1859 in Samlesbury). The Golding and Pearson families were both established in the School Lane area of Bamber Bridge by the 1870s and John and Margaret were married there in 1881. Their first three children were born in School Lane: Mary Ann (b. 1882), Beatrice (b. 1885) and Olive (1888-1891). Although Charles was born in Preston, the family was back living at Mill Street, off School Lane, by 1901. At that time, John was working away from home, possibly as a dock labourer in Fleetwood, and I have found no Census records for the family in the 1911 Census. However, both of Charles’ surviving sisters continued to live in School Lane/Station Road so it seems more than likely that Charles did too. Certainly his family has strong connections to St Aidan’s parish.
Charles turned 18 in 1916 so that’s more than likely when he signed up. He was assigned service number 36205 and posted to 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. Initially, 1Bn came under orders of 11th Brigade in 4th Division. If Charles joined the brigade in the field in 1917, he would have fought through several phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, at Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and the First Battle of Passchendaele.
However, in the major army reorganisation at the beginning of 1918, 1Bn was first transferred to 103rd Brigade, in 34th Division. 34th Division suffered heavy losses during the Battle of the Lys, at Estaires, Bailleul and the First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, after which it was withdrawn for further reorganisation. Then on 26 May 1918, 1Bn was transferred again, this time to 183rd Brigade in 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. In May the Division was briefly engaged in training American troops but after significant reorganisation, the Division returned to the front to fight at the Battles of the Soissonais and of the Ourcq and the capture of Baigneux Ridge (phases of the Battle of the Marne 1918). They then moved north to contribute to the Final Advance in Flanders. During the Battle of the Lys on 11 April 1918, the Germans had forced their way into the town of Merville, to the west of Armentières. The town was retaken by the British on 19 August 1918. It was here 3 days later that Charles Golding was killed. He was 20 years old.
Service Number: S/36205
Date of Death: 22/08/1918
Regiment/Service: East Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Cemetery/memorial reference: III. F. 26.
Cemetery: MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION