Charles Victor Trayhurn

Memorial: Thornbury - St Mary's Church

Regiment: Royal Sussex Regiment

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Lance Corporal G/2032

Parents: George and Elizabeth Trayhurn

Home address: The Plain, Thornbury, Bristol

Pre-war occupation: Compositor

Date of birth: 1889

Place of birth: Thornbury, Bristol

Date of death: 21/07/1916

Buried/Commemorated at: Étaples Military Cemetery (Ref. XIV. D. 14.)

Age: 27

Further information:

Bronze Tablet and Wooden Memorial Board

Victor Trayhurn, known as Vic, was the youngest of the seven sons and one daughter of butcher George Trayhurn and his wife, Elizabeth. His father died in 1889. Elizabeth continued to run the butchers. Vic was keen on sport, especially football. He was a chorister and bell-ringer at St Mary’s Church

Vic worked as a compositor for the Gazette at Dursley and then in the Composing Department at Lamson Paragon Supply Company, a manufacturer of business stationery in London. He was described as ‘a young man with a very winning personality and as straight as a die. He said what he meant and he meant what he said’

Twice rejected by the Army, Vic finally enlisted in 8th (Pioneer) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, 18th (Eastern) Division, in September 1914. The main work of Pioneers was to construct and maintain trenches, roads, bridges and light railways. They were often in the front line at night, under fire, and could be called on as infantry when required

In September 1915 Vic sent a letter home. ‘Most of our work so far has been trench digging and we get a shell over us occasionally just to break the monotony. At present we are digging behind our line under cover of night. There is a good deal of firing at night and we get the stray shots over us as we are working’

On 1st July, the opening day of the Somme Offensive, the Battalion saw action at Montauban, and were laying barbed wire, digging new communication trenches and repairing roads. 18th Division lost over 3000 men. From 10th to 12th July 8th Battalion was working on the Maricourt to Montauban Road. On 13th July the Division was ordered to capture Trônes Wood, which lay on the slopes of the ridge between Bernafay Wood and Guillemont. The next day, the first day of the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, the Pioneers were responsible for consolidating the lines through Bernafay Wood and nearby, under heavy enemy shelling. The Battalion war diary said ‘Attack will commence at 6pm (13th)....It must be distinctly understood that Co[mpan]ys are responsible for the defence of the works they are undertaking until they are relieved the next day...’ Trônes Wood was taken by the British. The Division suffered 1,527 casualties

Vic was injured on the 14th, whilst working in a trench, probably at Bernafay. The newspaper reported that he lay for twelve hours, sometimes under heavy shell fire, before being rescued by stretcher bearers. His ‘chum came to succour him’ but was killed, while Vic received further wounds. He was admitted to the Canadian Hospital at Étaples, with serious injuries to his thigh, knee and arm. His mother and sister were able to travel to France to ‘Give him some few moments of happiness in the hour of death, which he met quite peacefully on the 21st July’

Five of Vic’s brothers served and survived. One was shot through the shoulder and another was gassed

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Thornbury Roots Website. Thornbury and District Museum Research Group. Forces War Records and the CWGC