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Charles Riley was born in Preston in around 1883. His parents were William Thomas and Mary Ann Riley of 6 Schleswig Street, Preston.

In 1899, Charles joined the Militia, 3rd Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was 17 years old, working as a pork butcher and was living with his parents. His service number was 6925.

Charles served with the 3rd Battalion during the Boer War. The majority of the Battalion guarded prisoners at Malta, however Charles was one of the few who were sent to South Africa. He was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with three clasps, Cape Colony, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902.

On 26th June 1901, at Aberdeen South Africa, Charles was reprimanded for being absent from his guard for 2.5 hours and returning drunk. Then on 12th August 1901, Charles was subject to a Field General Court Martial.

Charge: Being asleep on his post

Plea: The prisoner pleaded guilty

Sentence: 12 months imprisonment with hard labour

Confirmed: The sentence has been confirmed, but has been commuted to 6 months.

On 30th June 1902, Charles transferred from the Militia to the Regular Army for a short service, 3 year engagement with the Colours. Charles was now given the service number 6791 and posted in the 2nd Battalion. He was at this time 19 years of age.

From October 1902 till April 1904, Charles served in Gibraltar. From here he sailed again to South Africa for a year (until April 1905), before returning to the UK having completed his term of service. He was now posted into the Army Reserve.

On 10th August 1907, Charles married Charlotte Parkinson at St Lukes Church, Preston. They had two children, William and Charles and lived at 18 Luckwick Street, Preston.


When War broke out, Charles was recalled to the Army and sailed to France with the 1st Battalion on 27th August 1914.  He spent just 61 days in France on this occasion before sustaining a gunshot wound to his thigh on 23rd October 1914 at Bixshoote, Ypres. Gallantly, Charles refused to be withdrawn from the firing line. He was later sent back to the UK to convalesce at the Liverpool Military Hospital. Charles was presented the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions that day.



On 29th February 1916, Charles sailed for France a second time, now with a batch of reinforcements for the 7th Battalion. He was appointed Lance-Corporal.

On 18th July 1916, following severe losses during the opening days of the Somme, Charles was promoted to Corporal to complete the establishment.

Five days after his promotion, on 23rd July 1916 Charles was reported missing following another days fighting on the Somme.

6791 LCpl Charles Riley 7th BN

Corporal Charles Riley was later presumed dead for official purposes. His body was never recovered, he is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing.

His wife, Charlotte would later receive the 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Scroll and Plaque in recognition of her late husbands sacrifice.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 6791
Date of Death: 23/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 6791 CPL. C. RILEY. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Anne Halton says:

    Thank you so much for the information, Charles was my Great Uncle, very sad but also very proud of a brave man who served and died for his country.

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