Radcliffe on Trent WWI Letters
Charles Wightman Pike
Henry Pike, father of Charles, visiting Brielen
All photographs and letters courtesy of the Pike family
Charles Samuel Wightman Pike was born in Radcliffe on Boxing Day 1882, the eldest of four boys and one girl. He was married to Agnes Foster and they had two children before 1914, Dick and Mary. When war broke out, he was a solicitor’s clerk and secretary of Radcliffe on Trent golf club. He was killed on 9th October 1917. His wife was sure he must have left a message for his family before he died. As she was unable to provide the children with that comfort, the letters were carefully preserved for them. Agnes, a teacher at Radcliffe school, died in the flu epidemic in December 1918.
Charles with his brothers Jack and Tom
Charles Pike’s letters from the Front to his family
The letter below was written a few days before Charles’s unit, the 232 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, was engaged in action at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, France.
Click on all original letters to enlarge
Charles wrote various letters to his family at the end of June and early July 1917 during a relatively quiet spell at the Front:
The following letters from Charles to his brother Tom and his parents show that he was still in France at this stage of the war. He was at Rest Camp until August 24th 1917.
Charles Wightman Pike’s death
Charles died of wounds in Belgium during the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). It is not known when the news arrived regarding Charles death but a letter was sent to his widow from Major W. Blythe dated Thursday 11th October. The telegram below, marked ‘Confirmation’, was sent from the War Office Department dealing with battle casualties’ (Proelicas) to the Royal Artillery in Dover.
Letter from Charles’s C.O. Major W.A.Blythe
Letter from Charles’s brother Tom to his parents concerning his death
Letters from Major W.A. Blythe and Corporal W. H. Taylor to Agnes Pike who had requested further information
The reply to Agnes, along with other letters, makes clear the desperation with which she sought information.
The children were told that their father had been taken to the Dressing Station, found himself alongside another Radcliffe man who had recovered and relayed his message to them. From the evidence this appears to be unlikely.