- Surnames starting with the letter K. 

Charles Kerr (Curr)

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:17th Bn
Name of Rgt or Ship:Manchester Rgt
How Died:Died
Country of burial:FranceGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Etretat Churchyard
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Born as Charles CURR during the March quarter in the Barton on Irwell R.D.
- ref: 8c/755, the younger son of David & Betsey Curr (nee Sissons).

Charles' parents resided at 10 Cromwell Road, Stretford at the time of the
1891 Census, so it is probable that Charles was born at this address.  His
father's occupation was then - Jute Commercial Traveller. 

1901 - 10 Cromwell Street, Stretford.    Family's surname is again spelt
'CURR'.    Son - aged: 6 - born: Stretford.   Head of household - David
Curr - Married - aged: 45 - occ: Linen Merchant & Agent - born: Scotland.  
Also - Betsey Curr - Wife - aged: 47 - born: Manchester.  Plus 3 elder
siblings and a cousin.

1911 Census - 23 Elm Road, Crumpsall, Manchester.   The family are now
spelling their surname as KERR.    Son - aged: 16 - occ: Clerk - born:
Stretford.     Head of household - David Kerr - Married - aged: 55 - occ:
Ventilating Engineer - born: Arbroath, Scotland.   Also - Betsey Kerr -
Wife - aged: 57 - born: Manchester.     Plus - an elder sister also called

Employed by Morreau, Spiegelberg & Co. Ltd., 121 Princess Street,
Manchester, high quality printed cotton products.

He trained with 16 Platoon, “D” Company, 2nd Manchester Pals - 17th Bn
Manchester Rgt and went overseas in November 1915. 

From the diaries of Edith Elizabeth APPLETON  O.B.E.  R.R.C.  For more
information, see Dick Robinson, Piers and Jill Stainforth's superb web-site
- http://www.edithappleton.org.uk - that gives a very moving account of
Charles' last days.    In association with the Imperial War Museum, they
have also published a book called:-  "War Diaries - A Nurse at the Front".

Towards the end of February 1916, Charles reported sick and was admitted to
the army’s 1st General Hospital at Etretat on the French coast near the
town of Le Havre.  He was suffering from pneumonia.  One of his nurses was
Edith Appleton.  Edith kept a diary which mentions Charles on several

6th March 1916 - "Busy day – poor Kerr (Pneumonia etc – etc). I am
afraid will not weather the storm, & poor old Sgt. Middleton is as bad as
he can be & so is Rudman, poor dears – I do wish they could get better."

8th March 1916 - “My heart is very sore for one poor boy, or for his
Mother – We have had him 10 days – & he is no better & is in a state to
die at any moment.  I am writing to his Mother & telling her so, she is
evidently a refined old lady – writes back to say she is “so glad to
hear Charlie is with us – the rest & good food will do him good”.  Have
my letters not reached her? Or won’t she understand that the boy is
dying.  I think he must have been gassed – he is purple & just like a gas

9th March 1916 - “Yesterday was a delightful day of calm between the
storms, of despatching a large convoy & receiving the one that didn’t
come. My pneumonia boy benefited from the quiet & perhaps… the creature
has a chance, & feel he must get better - for his Mother, poor thing, she
wrote to me - & said she was heartbroken - however, it was no good for me
to pretend he was not dangerously ill. He was - & is.”

10th March 1916 - “The day was very busy & poor Kerr worse - I am sure
that boy has been gassed & will die. Shouldn’t be surprised to find his
cot empty when I go on duty. Poor Mother - how will she take it?”

12th March 1916 - "Too much sadness to write about, besides being dead

13th March 1916 - “My poor little boy Kerr died yesterday, he had been in
15 days suffering from gas - pneumonia, bronchitis & has been extremely &
dangerously ill all the time, but only the day before yesterday he realized
that he was not going to get well. I am glad to say we never left him night
or day & he was fond of us all. Yesterday was a difficult day to be
“Sister” - He kept whispering all sorts of messages for home & his
fiancée - then he would call “Sister” & when I bent down to hear -
“I do love you” “when I’m gone, will you kiss me?” - & all the
time heads would be popping in “Sister - 20 No – so & so – to - - -
-.” “The S. Sgt wants to know if you can lend him a couple of men
to…”This & that - but in spite of all - I did kiss the boy first for
his Mother & then for myself - which pleased him - then he whispered “but
you still will when I’m gone.” The night before he asked me what dying
would be like - & said it seemed so unsatisfactory - he felt too young to
die - & not even wounded - only of bronchitis. Then another time he said,
“They wouldn’t let me go sick every time they said it was rheumatism &
would wear off - & marching with full pack & dodging the shells was
dreadful. Thank Goodness - what I told him dying would be like happened -
exactly - a clear gift of Providence. I told him it would be - that little
by little his breathing would get easier - & he would feel tired & like
going to sleep - & then he would just sleep - & with no morphia - that is
exactly what did happen - without a struggle. He was quite conscious up to
20 minutes before he died. I just asked him now & then if he knew I was
still with him. “Yes” - & you’re quite happy - aren’t you? & he
distinctly said “Yes, quite” Then the last & very trying part for the
Sister was to walk along to the other end of the village - beside the poor
dead thing - to see him decently put - in the mortuary. With hundreds of
French eyes turned “full on”. Our own people always clear out of the
way when they see it coming.   We sent 13 to England yesterday & are
getting a new convoy in today, so I must dress quickly. This is really the
only time I have for my own writing, every day is busy - & at night I am
too tired - now I must get up."

18th April 1916 - "Maxey, Constable & I had half days – weather very
heavy. Blowing 1/2 a gale with occasional gusts of rain or hail – we
walked to Benouville - dug up a basket full of primrose roots – then went
to the Inn for our usual boiled eggs & bread & butter tea – then went
home – to the Cemetery - & tidied up 9 graves – took away all the dead
flowers - & planted primroses – Col. Thackery, Capt Hammond – Kerr - &
Sawden – came under my special care. If everybody does a few we may have
them all tidy for Easter – the Cemetery is very beautifully kept."

Charles died at the No.1 General Hospital, Etretat, France.  His death was
reported in the 28th March 1916 edition of the Manchester Evening News

After the war, Mr & Mrs Kerr were living at 8 Cedar Street, Hightown,

M.I. - "A silent witness of the past and an ever present memory".

Commemorated on page 573 of the Manchester Rgt RoH Book.

Memorials found on:
Similar Names