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Christopher Joseph Stewart was born in Pendleton in about 1888.

Before war broke out, Christopher worked as an insurance clerk in the County offices, Preston. He had no previous military experience.

On 7th September 1914, Charles enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. He was posted into the 7th (Service) Battalion and given the service number 13115. He was at this time 26 years 9 months old and listed his brother, William as his next of kin. William resided at Thingwall Hall, Broadgreen, Liverpool. Christopher stated he himself lived in lodgings.

Christopher sailed to France with the 7th Battalion on 17th July 1915.

In January 1917, Christopher sustained a serious wound to his face and mouth, this resulted in being sent back to England on the hospital ship ‘Dieppe’.



Now back in the UK, Private Steward was initially admitted into Bevan Military Hospital in Kent, followed by a month at the Military Convalescence Hospital at Woodcock Park, Epsom. He was discharged in the April.

Christopher briefly came onto the strength of the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, before a final posting into the 10th (Service) Battalion.

Two weeks before he sailed to France for the second time, he married Winifred Wordon at St Walburge Church, Preston (14th May 1917).

Christopher sailed from Folkstone to Boulogne on 30th May 1917, joining the 10th Battalion at Etaples on 11th July.

Twelve days later, Private Stewart was killed by an enemy sniper (23rd July 1917). His new wife, Winifred who resided at the Steamer Hotel*, Water Lane, Preston, received official notice of his death.


On 23rd July 1917, a raid was conducted by D Company, the following War Diary entry explains;

23rd July – In the trenches

‘D’ Company carried out a raid this morning on RIFLE FARM. The raiding party consisted of:- two fighting platoons, two extra lewis gun teams and an extra section to take charge of prisoners etc. All belonging to ‘D’ Company and commanded by Captain J A Gravett.

The object of the patrol was to enter RIFLE FARM, clear the situation and take prisoners.

Having already lined up before dawn in shell holes, they advanced on their objective at 07:00hrs (Zero Hour).

Owning to barrage on left being too much, west and south, it necessitated a half right turn.

On arrival at May Farm it was found to be empty, but owing to fresh cigarette ends and matches it  was obviously being used by night.

From here to RIFLE FARM enclosure the raiders were subjected to moderate machine gun and rifle fire (when I say moderate, I do not mean slight). On reaching the enclosure the raiders were met by very heavy machine gun and rifle fire. A machine gun was also located in BEEK FARM.

A trench running parallel to and close under western edge of enclosure was held by Boche; these were dislodged but continued to fire from centre of enclosure. Our bombers got into the trench and proceeded in both directions.

At 07:30hrs reinforcements of about 40 men came from the direction of BEEK FARM over dead ground, where they opened heavy rifle fire.

The enemy by this time had obtained superiority of fire. The number of enemy at this time was calculated to be at least equal to a ‘Company’, rendering it impossible for us to actually get to the dug-outs.

Upon these dug-outs, rifle grenade fire was brought to war.

Two prisoners were taken near western edge and close to RIFLE FARM and some shelters destroyed but no more identifications were found in the shelters.

The allotted time being up, the signal to return was given at 07:27hrs by whistle. As soon as all our wounded had been got in (07:45hrs), the pre-arranged signal was given for barrages to slacken.

Our telephone line having been cut, communication was maintained by pigeons and runners.

The following observations were made :-

Rifle fire is strongly held without out-posts to north and south flanks by day, and advanced posts to the west by night.

Smoke Barrage

The machine gun barrage did not appear to be very heavy, but this might be because there was so much noise.

Concrete dug-outs are on the left and centre of the enclosure, the farm itself on the south eastern corner of the enclosure is in ruins.

Until about 07:30hrs the enemy barrage was most inaccurate, appearing first to the north and then to teh south of the farm.

At this hour, they placed it upon our shell-hole line.

All of our casualties were caused by rifle and machine gun fire. No instances of wounds caused by shell fire were found.

OC Raiding Party, and all members of the raid confirmed that the enemy suffered very heavy casualties and without any exaggeration are estimated at least twice as many as ours, as more than ten men were seen to fall as if killed, whilst more than twice this number appeared to be hit.

This estimate is purely from our rifle and machine gun fire. Casualties from shell fire are unknown, but must have been considerable.

It is known for certain that one of the enemy machine gun team was killed.

The (German) officer who appeared to be in command of RIFLE FARM seemed to have led a charmed life. His leadership and disregard for personal danger was admirable.


Private Christopher James Stewart is remembered on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13115
Date of Death: 23/07/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.


*The Steamer Hotel can be seen in the background of this photo.

Paul McCormick
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