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Charles and Norman were the only children of Charles Henry and Laura Doust. Charles attended Dulwich College from September 1900 to December 1903 and Norman from January 1903 to April 1905, prior to this they both attended Dulwich College Preparatory School.
On leaving Dulwich Charles went to a textile factory in Helbersdorf, Germany for a year and then to a Commercial House in Paris for three years. In 1910 he returned to London to work in his father’s business of an Australian and New Zealand Merchant. The 1911 census records him as a commission agent in the lace trade.
On the declaration of war, along with his younger brother, he enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade and they went to Flanders on 4th November 1914, both being wounded the following May in the second Battle of Ypres. Charles was hit in the head with shrapnel but Norman was later reported suffering from lockjaw owing to shock and strain, they were brought back to England, Charles was sent to a hospital in Birmingham, and Norman to one in Bristol.
They eventually recovered and re-joined their regiment. In August, 1915, Charles was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in his regiment and after training at Tadworth and Salisbury Plain he returned to the front early in 1916 and was killed in action at Gommecourt on the Somme on 1st July, 1916.
Copy of letter received 6/7/16
Dear Mr Doust,
Alas I have the very saddest news to break to you, that your Son met a soldiers end yesterday - he led his platoon and reached his objective when he was hit through the head - a sergeant of his Company bound up his wound but it proved fatal almost immediately.
I have known your Son both as an N.C.O. and an Officer, and have recognised him being most trustworthy and capable.
I fear this is a bald letter, but I cannot wrap the sad news up - my duty, and it is the hardest I have to perform, is no welcome one - I can assure you, however, your Boy did his duty and I pray we may all do it as well.
With renewed sympathy,
Yours very sincerely,
(SIGNED) ARTHUR BATES. Lt.Col.
Copy of letter received 10/7/16
Dear Mrs Doust
I must send you my deepest sympathy.During the time "Shumary" (as we always called your boy) was one of my subalterns I learned to know something of the great loss you are now bearing.
He was such an asset to the Company mess with his graphic and humorous descriptions of his experiences, and in the trenches he was absolutely tireless - up and down all the time, he always seemed to be helping somebody.
I know I can say nothing that can help you at this terrible moment, but please accept from me on behalf of "A" Company, which in spite of (I am afraid) terrible losses, must still live, our very sincerest sympathy.
I was wounded myself in the lungs just after 7.30 am. On July 1st, hence my inability, which I very much regret, to be able to give you any of the last news of dear “Shumary.”
Yours very sincerely,
(SIGNED) GUY. H. CHOLMELEY
(Capt. A. Company)
Thank you to Dulwich College for their assistance.
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