Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 29, 1877
Place of BirthManchester
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinBertha W. Partington (wife), c/o Mrs. W.T. Fotheringham, Nelson, British Columbia
Trade / CallingCattle Rancher
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion29th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVancouver, British Columbia
Address at EnlistmentNelson, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentOctober 23, 1915
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 26, 1916
Age at Death39
Buried AtNo known grave; commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France

Partington, Charles Thomas

British born Major Charles Thomas Partington was an officer in the militia before he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the fall of 1915. He was sent to England and then to France, where he joined the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion in August 1916. He died eight weeks later at the Battle of the Somme.

Charles was the middle of five sons of Thomas and Louisa Partington of Selkirk, Manitoba. Thomas and Louisa (née Holden) were married in 1864 in Manchester, Lancashire, England and their first eight children were born in England: Eva, Amy, John, Oswald, Bertha, Mary, Charles and Walter. Charles was born in May 1877 and his brother Walter in 1879. A short time later the family emigrated, going first to the U.S. where they lived for a few years before heading north to Canada. By 1884 they had settled in the Selkirk area in Manitoba. Their youngest son Arthur was born in Selkirk in 1886 and their last child, daughter Annie, died there as an infant in 1890. When the 1891 census was taken Charles, age 14, was living with his parents in Selkirk and his father was the town clerk.

Around 1896 Charles moved to the small town of Rat Portage (later called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. His brothers Walter and Oswald had also moved there and Oswald was in the grocery business. Charles worked in Rat Portage as a draughtsman then as a clerk in Oswald’s grocery store and later for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He married Bertha Wilhelmina Ritchie on 25 December 1902 in Rat Portage. Around 1904 the Hudson’s Bay Company transferred him to their Nelson, British Columbia location and his only child, daughter Dorothy Louisa Ritchie, was born in Nelson on 14 August 1906.

Charles become involved with the local militia unit, the Nelson Rifle Company, which later merged with several other Kootney area units to form the 102nd Regiment (Rocky Mountain Rangers). By October 1915, when he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he was Lt. Col. of the regiment. He took a reduction to the rank of Captain and was assigned to the 62nd Battalion, which was being raised in Vancouver. Charles was quickly promoted to major and was the battalion’s second-in-command when it embarked for England from Halifax on the SS Baltic on 20 March 1916. Its members were used as reinforcements to replace casualties in other units.

By early August Charles was in France where he was taken on strength with the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion and assigned at first as commander of ‘D’ Company. The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July and at the end of August and in early September the Canadian Corps moved to the Somme area to take part in the offensive. The first major operation for the Canadians was the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15-22 September). The 29th Battalion was in brigade reserve on 15 September and provided stretcher bearer parties to bring in the wounded. The next eight days were spent in billets and on 24 September the battalion received orders to take part in the next assault, which would be the Battle of Thiepval Ridge (26-29 September 1916). The day before the battle the men marched to the trenches east of Courcelette, where they relieved the unit there in the early hours of the morning. The attack began at 12:55 pm on 26 September. They had the 28th Battalion on their right and the 31st on their left and both units ran into problems and were held up. The 29th Battalion reached its objective very quickly and the men held on in an exposed position, facing sniper and machine gun fire and fighting off two German counter-attacks. They were relieved on 28 September and in the three day operation the unit suffered 276 casualties. Five officers were killed, including Major Charles Partington who fell on the first day.

From the Circumstances of Death record for Charles: Killed in Action 26-9-1916. He led his Platoon in an attack North of Courcelette, and when about forty yards from the objective, he was hit in the head by shrapnel and instantly killed.

Charles’ body was not recovered and his final resting place is unknown. He is commemorated on the Cenotaph at the Veterans Memorial Gardens in Selkirk, Manitoba and on the Vimy Memorial in France. The memorial bears the names of 11,000 Canadian servicemen who died in France and have no known grave.

Charles’ father died in Selkirk in 1929 and his mother passed away in Mapleton, Manitoba in 1944. His brother John died in 1924 in Winnipeg and Oswald in 1932 in Kenora, Ontario. Most of his other brothers and sisters eventually moved to British Columbia. His wife Bertha died in 1948 and she’s buried in St. Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery in Noyan, Quebec. Their daughter Dorothy became a school teacher and lived in Vancouver with her mother. She married George Elwick Moore in Vancouver in 1944 and they moved to Seattle, Washington. Dorothy passed away in Seattle on 28 February 2004, at age 97.

By Bob Stewart and Becky Johnson

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