Awdry, Charles Selwyn

Major Charles Selwyn Awdry (C, 1890-1896) was born on March 23rd 1877, son of Charles Awdry (Coll. 1861-1865): he was one of three Wykehamist brothers and nephew of the Right Reverend William Awdry, Bishop of Tokyo (Second Master, 1868-1872). His mother, Margaret, was the daughter of the Right Reverend George Moberly, Headmaster of Winchester College. He came to Winchester from Wayneflete School, played for Lords in 1896 and the same year went up to New College, Oxford.

On the outbreak of the South African War he went to the Cape with the Imperial Yeomanry and was mentioned in Despatches. In 1904 he became a partner in the firm of W.H. Smith & Son where his father was acting senior partner and from 1905 served as JP for Wiltshire. For some years before the war he held a commission in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry.

When war came he was acting Colonel and the official history of the Regiment “The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry (Prince of Wales’s Own) 1907 – 1967”, by Brigadier J R I Platt, gives an account of their mobilisation: “On August 12th the Regiment moved by train to Winchester… The Regiment was billeted in Winchester College. The men slept in the classrooms and gymnasium and found the floors the hardest beds of the whole war. The officers were in tutors’ houses with their mess in the prefects’ and dons’ common rooms. There were four old Wykehamists among the officers including Lieutenant E.P. Awdry (sic) who remembered that the last time troops had been billeted at the college Oliver Cromwell had insisted on tying up his horses in the cloisters. When asked where the horses were to be stabled, he replied to the temporary consternation of the Bursar, “In the cloisters, of course, to preserve history.” In a buttress outside the west door of the chapel is a horseshoe set there by the Farrier Sergeant with the words: “Wilts Yeomanry camped here, 1914”.

In 1917 Awdry was appointed to command 6th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. In this capacity he rendered conspicuous service, receiving the D.S.O. and being twice mentioned in Despatches. They were heavily engaged in March 1918 at Bapaume during the Allied retreat of that month, and on 25th Major Awdry was reported missing. He is presumed to have fallen then.

His family, like so many others at that time, placed an advertisement in The Times, asking for information: “Missing – Major C.S. Awdry, Wilts. Regiment, missing since March 25th, believed to be wounded. – Any information gratefully received by Mrs C.S. Awdry, Hitchambury, Taplow, or Miss M.F. Awdry, Post Office Hospital, 20 Kensington Palace Gardens, WS. Telephone No. Park 2361”. Four months later they reported that they believed he was alive and had been captured. In January 1919 the family were still hopeful, as another advertisement appeared saying that he was believed to have been admitted to Lazarette [an isolation hospital] in March 1918, and asking for further information. However, no more was heard and it was presumed he had been killed in action.

He married in 1903 Miss Constance Lilias Bateson, of Heston, Middlesex; one of their sons, Charles Edwin Awdry (C1919-1925) captained Lords in 1924. There were three other sons, all of whom came to Winchester.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Awdry
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Selwyn
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1890-1896
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
  • Date of Birth: 23rd March 1877
  • Date of Death: 25th March 1918
  • How Died: Missing presumed killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer H5
  • Decoration: D.S.O.
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the POZIERES MEMORIAL: Panel 6.