Charles Pownall, Private 70626, 1/7th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action 6th November 1917 in Palestine, aged 39
John Charles Pownall Clark was born in Macclesfield in 1878 and baptised on 5 March 1879 at St George’s Chapel, Macclesfield, the son of Alice Ann and Albert Pownall (or Pownall Clark), a brickmaker of Macclesfield. Albert Pownall Clark was the son of William Clark and Martha Pownall, baptised on 16 September 1857 at St George’s Chapel; hence he took both surnames.
In 1881, three-year-old John was living with his parents at 30 Windmill St. Ten years later, the family had moved to 11 Daisy Bank and by then included children John (12), William (10), Minnie (6), Alice (4), Albert (3) and Arthur (1).
By 1901 the family had moved again to 58 St George’s Street, and included another child, one-year-old Lizzie. John, then aged 21, was employed as a silk spinner.
John’s mother died in 1911, shortly before the census was taken. This showed that the family had moved a few doors along to 62 St George’s Street, and John, William, Arthur and Lizzie were all still unmarried and living with their widowed father.
John Charles Pownall Clark was also known as Charles Pownall.
Charles volunteered with the 4th Cheshire Regiment with service number 5808 on 20 February 1905. His service records show that he was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 116 pounds and had a 32 inch chest. He had brown hair and hazel eyes, and was employed as a silk piecer with J Smale of Sunderland Street. Charles attended a musketry training course and training camps in 1906 and 1907, and was discharged on 23 January 1908 at his own request. The records give the names of his parents and brothers, and notes that his brother William was serving with the 2nd Cheshire Regiment in India.
As a former soldier, Charles joined the 1st Cheshire Regiment soon after the outbreak of the war, with service number 10534. He was drafted to France in January 1915 (according to his medal index card), wounded in the battle of Hill 60, and was in hospital for eight months. After his recovery he was transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and drafted to Egypt.
Private Pownall’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 30 November 1917:
IN PALESTINE – ONE OF THREE SOLDIER BROTHERS
Another soldier who has made the supreme sacrifice is Private Charles Pownall, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who was killed in action in Palestine. The sad news was conveyed to his father, who resides at 62 St George’s St, Macclesfield… He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war in the Cheshire Regt and went out to France in September, 1914. He was wounded in the battle of Hill 60, and was in hospital for eight months. Afterwards transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, he went out to Egypt about 16 months ago. He was 39 years of age, and as a boy attended St George’s Branch School, London Road. He was formerly employed at the Bollin Mills. Two brothers are serving, one in France and the other in Salonika, whilst seven cousins are also with the colours.
Private Charles Pownall is buried in Grave Ref. H. 38. of the Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Charles Pownall, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Charles Pownall is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials, and St George’s Church roll of honour. It’s possible he is also named on the St George’s Church roll of honour as Charles P. Clarke.
Brother of Albert Pownall Clarke, who served as a private in the Cheshire Regiment; and Arthur Pownall Clark, who served as Private 29626 in the Machine Gun Corps.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Deaths
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St George’s Chapel, Macclesfield
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
British Army Medal Index Cards (Ancestry)
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
WWI Absent Voters Lists: Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Macclesfield Times: 30 November 1917, 23 Sept 1921 (photo supplement)