Private William Lawrence Charlton – C 600952 — NATIONAL RESOURCES MOBILIZATION ACT SOLDIER (World War II)
William Lawrence was 25 years, 11 months old when, as a single man, he reported to the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) Clearing Depot (CD) at Kingston Ontario on February 5, 1942. He completed the Enrolment Form and was taken on strength with the Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre [CA(B)TC] #32 at Peterborough, Ontario on February 5, 1942. At the time he was 5′ 10″ tall (doesn’t agree with later height of 5′ 8″, probably had shoes on), weighed 172 pounds, blue eyes and brown hair. William Lawrence lived at RR# 4, Peterborough Ontario; he was born in Lakefield Ontario March 13, 1916. He indicate that he had no previous military experience and completed 1½ years of High School. William Lawrence’s occupations, just prior to enlisting, were listed as a farmer and carpenter. His next-of-kin was his mother, Mrs. Margaret Ann Charlton, his father was William James Charlton. William Lawrence indicated that his preference was the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He entered the NRMA as a Private with service number C 600952.
On March 11, 1942 Private Charlton ceased to be attached to the CA(B)TC #32 and was posted as a member of the Home Defence (HD) on transfer to the Royal Rifles of Canada (RRC) in Québec City, Québec. March 12, 1942 he was taken-on-strength with the RRC from the CA(B)TC #32. Then on April 19, 1942 Private Charlton was struck-off-strength from the RRC and discharged from the NRMA CD No 3 on Attestation to the Active Force.
Private William Lawrence Charlton – E 52695 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
William Lawrence was 26 years, 1 month old when, as a single man, he was Attested into the Royal Rifles of Canada (RRC), Canadian Army (Active) [CA (A)] April 20, 1942 at Vernon, British Columbia (BC). He was taken-on-strength with the RRC April 20, 1942 at Vernon BC. William Lawrence lived at RR# 4, Peterborough Ontario; born in Lakefield Ontario March 13, 1916 and indicate that he had previous military experience with National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre [CA(B)TC] #32 at Peterborough and the Royal Rifles of Canada (RRC) in Québec City, Québec. His occupation was listed as a farmer. At the time he was 5′ 8″ tall, weighed 147 pounds, blue eyes, brown hair and chest 39″. His next-of-kin was his mother, Mrs. Margaret Ann Charlton, his father is William James Charlton. He entered the Royal Rifles of Canada (RRC) as a Private with service number E 52695.
On June 4, 1942, while at Otter Point BC, Private Charlton was granted permission to marry Miss Helen Zella Aileen Miles residing in Vernon, BC. He was married to Miss Helen Zella Aileen Miles of Lakefield Ontario at the Manse, Sooke, Victoria Island BC on June 5, 1942. July 6, 1942 Private Charlton’s next-of-kin was changed from his mother, Mrs. Margaret Ann Charlton to his wife, Mrs. Helen Charlton who was then living at 445 Kennedy St., Nanaimo BC.
On August 15, 1942 Private Charlton was granted 14 days furlough from August 17 to August 28, 1942 (inclusive). He returned from the furlough August 28, 1942. As of January 1, 1943 Private Charlton was authorized to draw $1.50 per diem. Then, February 16, 1943 a daughter, Helen Jessie Margarite, was born in St. Mary’s Hospital, North Westminster BC. On February 19, 1943 Private Charlton’s next-of-kin’s address was changed from 445 Kennedy St., Nanaimo BC to 812 5th Avenue, North Westminster BC. Also on February 19, 1943 Private Charlton was struck-off-strength from RRC Canadian Army to Military District (MD) No XI at Vancouver BC.
Although there are no indications in Private Charlton’s records about his activities over the previous 10 months; he would have been undergoing extensive training in Infantry skills. His basic training would have been done prior to his Active Service (with the NRMA) and advanced training in weapons, tactics, defensive and offensive skills, etcetera would have been taught.
Private Charlton was taken-on-strength to No XI District Depot (DD) February 20, 1943 and granted Special Leave from February 20 to 28, 1943. On March 8, 1943 Private Charlton’s next-of-kin’s address was changed from 812 5th Avenue, North Westminster BC to RR# 2 Lakefield Ontario. His wife Helen and his daughter were moving back home while he was deployed overseas. On March 17, 1943 Private Charlton was struck-off-strength from No XI DD on posting to the Canadian Army Overseas to join the South Saskatchewan Regiment (Regular) [SSR(R)].
On March 21, 1943 Private Charlton embarked from Halifax (not stated) and was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army, Canada and taken-on-strength with the Canadian Army, Overseas destined for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (2 CIRU) in the United Kingdom (UK) on March 22, 1943. He disembarked in the UK on March 31, 1943; was taken-on-strength with 2 CIRU and reported for duty. July 28, 1943 Private Charlton was attached to the SSR Field Unit (FU) up to July 31, 1943. Then on July 31, 1943, after 3 months training with 2 CIRU, Private Charlton was struck-off-strength from 2 CIRU and taken-on-strength to the SSR in the UK on August 1, 1943. From October 31, 1943 to November 6, 1943 Private Charlton was on a Street Fighting Course. On December 17, 1943 he was struck-off-strength from the SSR to Headquarters (HQ) 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade (6 CIB). December 18, 1943 Private Charlton was taken-on-strength with HQ 6 CIB in the Field and attached for all purposes (fap) to the SSR. January 14, 1944 Private Charlton was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM) and Clasp in the Field. On June 21, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from 6 CIB to the SSR and was taken-on-strength to the SSR on June 22, 1944.
July 6, 1944 Private Charlton embarked the UK and disembarked in France on July 8, 1944. Following Dieppe, the reconstituted South Saskatchewan Regiment landed in Normandy on July 8, 1944, as a Unit of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The opponent of 2nd Division on July 20, 1944 was elements of a Panzer Grenadier Battalion and a Tank Battalion from the 1st SS Panzer Corps, plus a similar group from the 2nd Panzer Division. In the afternoon, on July 20, 1944 four German Tanks were spotted and in the ensuing battle, just South of Caen France, Private Charlton went missing and was declared killed in action. The Regiment lost 13 Officers and 209 Other Ranks killed, wounded and missing during this battle.
Private William Lawrence Charlton was interred in St. Martin de Fontenay Cemetery, France (just South of Caen). October 21, 1946 he was disinterred and re-interred in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian Cemetery in Bretteville-sur-Laize, France.
Pte Charlton was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
France & Germany Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for the General Service Badge.
William Lawrence Charlton served for 11 months in Canada, 1 year, 3 months in the United Kingdom and 2 weeks in France. William Lawrence was insured with The Great West Life Assurance Company. He had a $1,000.00 Policy and the beneficiary was Mrs. Helen Zella Charlton (Widow).
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
WILLIAM LAWRENCE CHARLTON
William Lawrence Charlton was born March 13, 1916 at Lakefield, Ontario, he went by the name “Lawrence”. He was educated in Ray’s Public School in the Lakefield Public School System from 1921 to 1930. He then attended the Lakefield High School System from 1930 to 1932, he left school when he was 16 years old. Lawrence enjoyed hunting, usually rabbits, fox, geese and other animals; he also did some fishing.
Lawrence spoke and read English and French fluently. At the time of his enlistment he had 15 years of experience in mixed farming on his father’s farm. Lawrence was a member of the Carpenters Union of Canada and was employed as a carpenter just prior to enlisting.
Lawrence married Miss Helen Zella Aileen Miles of Lakefield Ontario at the Manse, Sooke, Victoria Island BC on June 5, 1942. Lawrence and Helen had a daughter, Helen Jessie Margarite, was born February 16, 1943 in St. Mary’s Hospital, North Westminster BC.
William Lawrence Charlton died July 20, 1944 in France and is remembered in the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Calvados, France.
From a newspaper clipping:
Pte. L. Charlton Reported Missing
LAKEFIELD, Aug. 3 (1944) – (ENS), — Serving with a western infantry unit and going overseas in March 1943, Pte. Lawrence Charlton, R.R. No. 4, Peterborough, has been officially reported missing in action in Normandy. His wife, formerly Helen Miles, lives at 636 Union Street. No other details were given.
He enlisted in February, 1942, and trained in Quebec and Vernon, Otter’s Point, and New Westminster, B.C., before arriving overseas. Educated at Lakefield Public and High schools, the 28-year-old soldier was employed at the Canadian General Electric Company before enlisting.
October 1944, Lawrence’s widow, Mrs. Helen Z. A. Charlton was living at 636 Union Street, Peterborough Ontario. On September 16, 1944 a Royal Message of Lawrence’s demise was dispatched to Helen. Then, October 4, 1944, a Canadian Message of Lawrence’s demise was dispatched to Helen. On December 4, 1944 a Memorial Cross was sent to Mrs. Helen Z. A. Charlton (widow) and Mrs. Margaret A. Charlton (mother).
On March 13, 1946 Lawrence’s Burial Report was sent to his widow at 636 Union Street, Peterborough Ontario. On June 2, 1949 Lawrence’s Medals were sent to Lawrence’s widow at 636 Union Street, Peterborough Ontario.
THE WILLIAM LAWRENCE CHARLTON FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
William Lawrence’s paternal grandparents are James Charlton, born March 29, 1846 and Sarah Ann Caldwell, born August 19, 1857. James & Sarah had 8 children: George Armour, born November 19, 1876, married Johannah Maloney, born August 29, 1876, on October 1, 1899; William James, born September 1, 1879, married Margaret Ann Hurl, born September 22, 1882, on April 8, 1903; Robert Alexander, born November 11, 1881, married Maggie Armstrong, born November 17, 1882, on August 19, 1903 and later married Mary Jane Pearson, born June 27, 1888; Margaret Jane, born 1884, died April 6, 1905; Mary Janet (Jeanette) Sarah, born June 5, 1885, died May 30, 1908; John Edmond, born August 17, 1888, married Cecilia Alvina Hurl, born August 28, 1891, on May 11, 1910; Lawrence Joseph, born October 1, 1892 in Douro Township, Peterborough County, married Vera Andrews, he died July 14, 1968; and Catherine Ainslie (Kathleen), born in Lakefield on February 12, 1896, married Oscar Alexander Bulmer (a widower), born in Hiawatha in 1895, in Brantford, Ontario, on September 7, 1920.
James Charlton, a farmer died March 1, 1915 and his wife Sarah Ann died September 13, 1930; both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Lawrence Joseph, born October 1, 1892 in Douro Township, Peterborough County, died July 14, 1968. Apparently there was a brother George who was 15 years older than William Lawrence. His maternal grandparents are Joseph Caldwell and Jane Mary Mahood.
William Lawrence’s parents, William James Charlton, born September 1, 1879 in Ontario & Margaret Ann Hurl, born September 22, 1882 in Ontario were married in Peterborough Ontario on April 8, 1903. William & Margaret had the following children: Lillan “Lillie” Levina Sarah, born February 27, 1904; Arthur James, born December 28,1906; Mable Luella, born January 25, 1909; Mary died at birth October 17, 1911; William Lawrence , born March 13, 1916 and Roger Braden, born May 3, 1923.
William Lawrence’s parents and siblings were living at RR# 4, Peterborough in 1944 except for Mable Luella Calberry living in Lakefield. William James Charlton died April 26, 1966 and his wife, Margaret “Maggie” died May 13, 1962.