Serre Road Cemetery N° 3, France - Rededication Service.
A rededication Service for Lieutenant Charles Stonehouse, of 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, was held at Serre Road Cemetery No.3. on Tuesday 3rd July 2018.
Charles Stonehouse was born on 15th May 1882 in Blackburn, the son of Francis and Mary Ann Stonehouse. An architect by profession, he enlisted in the Accrington Pals on 17th September 1914 as a Private with the regimental number 15360. Stonehouse was promoted to L/Corporal before being appointed to a commission with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 18th January 1915. He was further promoted to full Lieutenant on 20th June.
On 1st July 1916, Stonehouse led a platoon of "W" Company into the battalion's attack on Serre. According to an eyewitness statement by 20939 Fred Whitesmith, Stonehouse was near the enemy's trench when he was hit in the wrist. His orderly, 15216 Roland Banks, was killed while binding up his wound and Stonehouse himself was afterwards hit in the head and killed.
Charles Stonehouse is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for the reason that he has no known grave. In fact, he was the only full Lieutenant of the Accrington Pals killed at Serre whose corpse remained unidentified after the war. There is, however, only one grave in the Serre cemeteries recorded as being that of an unknown Lieutenant of the East Lancashire Regiment: grave B.24 in plot 1 of Serre Road Cemetery No.3. In 2017, the Ministry of Defence accepted the author's evidence that Charles Stonehouse is buried in this grave.
The service was organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and attended by British Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries. Two Vickers machine guns were also placed by the Stone of Remembrance in the cemetery for the service.
The CWGC provided the headstones and will care for the graves in perpetuity.