The Two First War Memorial Crosses of Sgt. Connaughton PPCLI
The Two First War Memorial Crosses of Sgt. Connaughton PPCLI; GRV (153 Sgt. C. CONNAUGHTON). Naming is officially engraved on both. Crisp detail, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a CD containing twenty-two pages with copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records and Discharge Certificate. Footnote: Charles Connaughton stated that he was born on March 1, 1874, in Manchester, England, but upon further investigation, the Army discovered later on in WWI that he was actually born in the year 1867. He was a veteran of the Boer War in South Africa, having served with the Gordon Highlanders. He signed his Attestation Paper on August 24, 1914 in Ottawa, Ontario, as an original member of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, naming his next-of-kin as his wife, Susannah Connaughton of Toronto, Ontario, stating that he had previous military service with the Gordon Highlanders, that he was married and that his trade was that of Labourer. He was posted to No. 1 Company, arriving at Levis Camp on August 30th, where he was appointed Lance Corporal on September 9th. He is shown in his records as a Bugler and reverted to Private on September 25th. He embarked Quebec City for England aboard the R.M.S. Royal George on September 27, arriving in Plymouth on October 14th. Upon arrival, he was stationed at Bustard Camp on October 18th, then transferred to Morn Hill Camp on November 16th. Five weeks later, he left Southampton aboard the S.S. Cardiganshire with the PPCLI, for the French theatre on December 20, 1914, arriving in LeHavre the next day. Early in the new year, he was transferred to No. 4 Company and appointed Lance Corporal on January 14, 1915. He experienced his first bout of sickness, as he was admitted to No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Le Treport and diagnosed with "Rheumatism" on February 18, 1915, and was discharged to duty as Class "A" three weeks later on March 11th. Connaughton soon saw action in the Second Battle of Ypres and was wounded in action at Bellewaerde Lake on May 7, 1915, suffering a gun shot wound to his right hand. He was admitted to No. 82 Field Ambulance, transferred to No. 9 General Hospital, before being invalided to England on May 11th aboard the Hospital Ship Oxfordshire. He was to spend the next three months in hospital, split between Whitworth Hospital, North Chester and 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. The shrapnel did severe damage to his hand, as he lost his ring finger at the second joint, later discharged to furlough on June 7th. Although having lost a finger, he trained as a Shoemaker and was so employed within the reinforcement organization for his continued stay in England. He was on command with the 11th Reserve Battalion when he was reduced in rank on July 20th for being Absent Without Leave from the lines while Battalion Orderly Corporal. He was treated for a case of Gonorrhea, which lasted 21 days, from August 10 to 31st, and declared "apparently cured". During his posting with the 11th RB, he was employed as a Shoemaker. The following year, he was appointed Acting Corporal on May 19, 1916 and was taken on strength at the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre at Folkestone ten days later, on May 29th. Three months later, he was on command at the Royal Canadian Regiment and Patricia Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Depot, from September 8th. The RCR & PPCLI were re-designated the 7th Reserve Battalion on January 1, 1917, with Connaughton appointed Acting Sergeant on March 27th. Bad health continued to plague him, as he was admitted to No. 14 Canadian General Hospital at Eastbourne with a case of Furunculosis (boils) on his neck on October 18, 1917. Although it was noted in his medical records that the "patient does not look ill", he remained hospitalized for 46 days, before being discharged on December 1st. He was attached to the Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot from January 10 to 31, 1918, and later transferred to the 6th Reserve Battalion in February and March, where he reverted to the rank of Private and continued his Shoemaking. His health continued to decline, as noted in a medical examination performed at Seaford on March 1, 1918, where his shortness of breath, dizziness, plus weakness and pain in his right hand were expressed by him. He proceeded to the Canadian Discharge Depot at Buxton on March 7th pending discharge and was struck off strength on proceeding to Canada on April 9th. Upon return to Canada, he was posted to No. 2 District Demobilization Centre on April 18th. In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated May 3, 1918 at Ravina Barracks, No. 2 District Depot in Toronto, he was examined by C.R. Kannan, where the truth was finally revealed: Connaughton's real birthdate was March 1, 1867, making him now 51 years old and not 44 by the previous stated birthdate. He had been officially over age since March 1, 1915, when he would have been age 48. He was suffering from chronic bronchitis and defective hearing, which he claimed he incurred while on service in May 1915 and the doctor estimating a recovery time of six months and at least one year, respectively. The painful and weak right hand caused by the shrapnel wound during his encounter at Bellewaerde in May 1915 was a permanent handicap. His biggest problem however was valvular disease of the heart, again attributed to his 1915 service. Although the doctor thought a recovery time of at least eight months was in order, it later proved to be an inaccurate assessment, as his heart weakened over the years to follow. The doctor observed that Connaughton "Looks (his) age stated. Radial arteries thickened. Has a condition of chronic congestion in nose/and cheeks. Has pain in right hand when he grips anything. Hand is weak to him, and grip of right hand is about 70% of that of left hand. Third finger on right hand missing and just below 1st interphalanged joint. Head of bone well covered. Has no headaches. Has dizzy spells, and Dyspnea (shortness of breath) on exertion as walking 1/2 mile or going up a flight of 25 steps. Has cardiac palpitation and pain around heart. States he was in good health before enlisting and while on service he states his hearing and chest gave him trouble. War wounded in May 1915." It was recommended the he be placed in Category "E" (unfit for service in Categories A (general service), B (service abroad, not general service) and C (home service (Canada only)) and be discharged as "physically unfit and as over age." and that he "should pass under his own control". He was struck off strength on April 24th and discharged to Canada on May 16, 1918 as "medically unfit for further service". He was discharged at No. 2 District Depot in Toronto, due to "Physical Unfitness" on May 22, 1918, his age, bronchitis, defective hearing, hand wound and bad heart contributing to his demise. Connaughton died on November 25, 1927 at the age of 60, his death officially attributed to his military service. His widow, Susannah Connaughton of Toronto received his Trio of Medals, Plaque and Scroll, in addition to his Memorial Cross. His mother, Mrs. Sarah Jane Thompson of Moston, Manchester, England had remarried in 1918, after his father's death in 1914. She also received his Memorial Cross. In addition to the Trio, Plaque and Scroll, he was entitled to the South Africa War Medals, one which are not here included here with the Crosses.