Charles Henry Ruddock: A local Victorian in the Great War


Charles Henry Ruddock from a family photograph. Image very kindly donated by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

David Evans’ painstaking recording and sharing of the Ruddock family archive continues today with a look at the Great War history of Walsall Wood man, Charles Henry Ruddock.

A few weeks ago, we kicked the series off with an article about Charles’ history in the army in the late Victorian era and South Africa, which has caused no small amount of debate and ponderance amongst the blog readers.

This occurred following the wonderful material that recently came to light, so kindly donated by Julie Whitehouse and Dorothy Ruddock who have continued to share a hugely disparate range of fascinating family ephemera, most of which is still yet to be published here.

This is the second instalment of the history of Charles Henry Ruddock, with more to come soon.

A good starting point on the subject is the post here regarding the Cape by Janet Davies Warallo followed by the post about Dulce Domum and the Ruddock family photos.

My thanks again to Dorothy, Julie and David – if you have anything to add, please do: comment here or mail me, please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Charles Henry Ruddock and the Great War

Charles was ‘Embodied into Service’ on 5th August 1914. He had first joined the Army in 1890, where he served 21 years, 17 in the South Staffs Regiment, followed by 4 years in the Military Provost Staff Corps.


That must have been the equivalent of an IT qualification in the day! Image very kindly donated by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

Now the Great War had been declared and Territorial Sergeant C Ruddock was ’embodied service’ (source: Charles Ruddock service records).

The family notes record that he served under Colonel Wingfield Stratford, who commanded the North Midlands Division, I understand. Charles was awarded the DCM during this conflict, and was promoted to Warrant Officer in March 1915. He was posted to Europe on 3 March 1915, and returned to England to recover from a wound, on 22 July 1918. He retired from the Army on 22 October 1918. He had served another four and a half years in the Regular Army.

Charles’ Military History Sheet records that he was awarded the DCM for

‘consistent good work since the Division landed. He has worked night and day getting stores up to the trenches on responsible and detached work. He has shown great energy and tact’ vide London Gazette, 11th March, 1916.

Charles returned home to live with his wife Ada and family in Ogley Square, Mill Road, Brownhills.[Worth reading that link, Ogley Square was no place fit for heroes – Bob]

Dorothy kindly shared the following images and ephemera from the family connection:

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19 Responses to Charles Henry Ruddock: A local Victorian in the Great War

  1. FB. Lycett says:

    I may be wide of the mark, but I seem to remember CH Ruddock, coal merchant/haulage contractor in the area, as I recall, running a Ford Sussex, ex WD. 6×2, I think painted Cream //

  2. David Evans says:

    HI FB Lycett,
    I think the Charles Ruddock, coal merchant, may have been this chap’s son. Can readers please help ? who were the other local coal merchants?
    And a huge thanks to Bob for this excellent presentation and for all the work involved in editing
    Most appreciated
    Kind regards

    • andkindred says:

      There was a son named Charles Henry. The 1911 census records Ada Ruddock, 37, wife, but no husband present – away in the Army. Also children, Robert Alton (age) 19 (born) Brownhills, Ada Irene Blanch 9 Lichfield, Sarah Evelyn 7 York, Charles Henry 6 York, Dorothy Annie 5 Guernsey, and William Henry 2 Birmingham. They were in Married Quarters at Whittington Barracks. I can’t find Charles Henry snr in 1911.

      • David Evans says:

        Charles Henry Ruddock, Sgt., is listed in the Whittington Barracks Army 1911 census register as he was still a serving member of the south staffs regiment when the 1911 census was taken..His name is near the top of the relevant page

      • Heidi Hildebrandt says:

        Dorothy Annie Baker (Nee Ruddock) was my Grandmother. Dose anyone know anything about the little girls “betty” Charles and Ada adopted. I have photographers of her.
        Bob you have done a wonderful job of capturing Charles Henry Ruddocks legacy. My parents both said he was such a wonderful man.

        • Julie says:

          My mom Dorothy Mary Stroud Nee Ruddock was named after your gran Heidi , she was Robert Acton & Beatrice Ruddock’s youngest daughter . I will have a word with her tonight and get back to you . The picture under the article Sweet Home On The Cape is a picture of your gran , (not my mom ) Dorothy Ruddock as a young girl with her brother Will x

          • Heidi Hildebrandt says:

            I thought she looked like nan. Can you ask her if she knows anything about Betty. The little girl,they adopted. And was Irene adopted. My mom thinks she was too. My dad passed away last November and being that he had two girls that is the long line of Bakers done.😟.

  3. aerreg says:

    hi david to use an old coal miners quote other coal jagge thanks for the memory god blessrs were BILLY BOOKER WEBSTERS TUCKLEY ALLEN they created that coal note curbside vister awaiting the weary arms legs and buckets to transport the black gold into the coal house first clear out the slack and give it to an O A P then big lumps at the front cobbles at the back .another one was suttons in lichfield road with their two wheeled heavy truck which held a hundred wieght

  4. aerreg says:

    sorry about opening phrase the word should read jaggers thanks for the memory again god bless

  5. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Ruddocks, the coal merchant opened up midway in Salters Road, in the early 1950’s. some years after Birch’s, also in Salters Road, but at the Vigo end, ceased trading. Birch’s had been going since the 1920’s and I did my share of ‘coal jagging ‘ to customers in the heavy little wagons holding one hundredweight retailing at 9d. Chancy business this, some customers gave you nothing, while other gave you a ha’pehhy or a penny if you tipped it into the coalhouse.
    Other local dealers come to mind, there was a Webster or Walker from the Linden Road area, who for some reason had ‘The Deena’ written on the door of his lorry, never knew the reason for that, and Bob Tuckley from Brownhills, an old R.A.O B. friend of mine who, when asked his name in Lodge would reply, “Bob Tuckley, esquire, dead ‘oss and donkey buyer” to the merriment of all the newcomers. No one else comes to mind, coal merchants were a tad parochial and served within a limited local area. In any case, in a coal mining area, tips of ‘allowance coal’ in front of a miner’s house, were a common sight, with Arthur Neville who earned a living ‘getting the coals in’ , industriously pushing his wheelbarrow, back and forth.

  6. Karen Ruddock says:

    I’m wife to one of the sons of William Henry Ruddock. Who is Dorothy ? How old is she and where does she live ? My husband and his brother lived in Occupation rd.

    • Julie Whitehouse says:

      HI Dorothy is my mom, she is the youngest daughter of Robert Acton Ruddock the eldest son of Charles Henry ….a lady never gives her age …but she lived in the bungalow on the corner of Occupation Rd for nearly 54 years no 41 . My grandad lived at 33 …she was the last of the family to live in Occupation Rd ..she moved two years ago to live near me .w

      • Heidi Hildebrandt says:

        Hi Julie
        I see we are related.
        my father is Dorothy Annie’s son. Dorothy Annie is Roberts Actons younger sister.
        Dorothy Annie married William Bonnington Baker and had one child William Stanley.

  7. Karen ruddock says:

    Does your mom remember Paul and Andre. And their mother Eileen, who married William, you’re grandads younger brother. They lived in the other bungalow. We went along occupation rd yesterday. The bungalows are still there. Even the chalet in the garden where Paul spent most of his time. I guess you are 2nd cousin to my husband and his brother. Do you still live in the area. we are going to go to Lichfield barracks museum, see what we find. Very interesting – Regards.

  8. Julie Whitehouse says:

    Hi Karen , yes I remember Paul and Andre , although they moved when I was quite small, me and my sister Susan were the babies of the family . I am still in close contact with my cousin Ken , Jean’ s son . I remember wanting a chalet to play in so badly !! Mom moved to be near to me two years ago, after I lost my dad . When you go to the museum mention Charles Henry as mom donated a few of his belongings, including his WW1 sleeping bag (found in an old suitcase in the shed , and still in remarkably good condition ) . It has been mom’s dream to find out more about her grandad’ s military career for many years , and now with the help of David & Reg it’s starting to unfold so many men of the time it was never spoken about . Kind regards Julie x

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