Charles Messent

Birth Date:
Death Date:
Service Branch:
Private 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment
Service Number:

The WW1 service record of Charles Messent might never have been found but for the Guild of One-Name Studies.

The World War 1 service record of Charles Messent Private 10450 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment popped up in my study purely by luck.

Unfortunately, more than half of the service records of WW1 soldiers were destroyed in September 1940, when a German bombing raid struck the War Office repository in Arnside Street, London. However, an estimated 2.8 million service records survived the bombing, sometimes as fragments, or were reconstructed from the records of the Ministry of Pensions. This means that there is a roughly 40% chance of finding the service record of a soldier who was discharged at some time between 1914 and 1920. The service records that survived the Arnside Street fire in September 1940 are called the ‘Burnt Documents,’ and can be very helpful.

So imagine that within the 40% of surviving records that one had become lost in these 2.8 million records? What are the chances of finding that? Slim or fat, I’d have said!

Well that is the basis of this story. It was whilst I was piecing together the WW1 records of Comberbach, Cumberbatch and Cumberpatch for preserving the memory and sacrifice that these man made, that I stumbled across a page in a service record that, after much studying, clearly did not belong to my man.

The service record totalling five sheets was found immediately after the record of Private 10453 William Cumberpatch of the 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. The closeness of their regimental number gives a clue to the closeness of their paper records and how this mix-up may have occurred.

I hope that one day someone stumbles across this story on this website and that it helps to plug a gap in the life and times of Private Charles Messent 3/10450 Northamptonshire Regiment.


Summary of what I have pieced together for George Messent:

Birth registered in the December quarter of 1877 MESSENT Charles Sudbury Registration District volume:4a page: 489

1891 Census:

George Messent age 48 the father; Mary Ann Messent age 39 the mother; Sarah Nash Messent age 19 daughter; George Messent age 15 son; Charles Messent age 13 son and our man; Hillah Messent age 11 daughter; Beatrice Messent age 9 daughter; Alice Messent age 7 daughter; Ethel Messent age 2 daughter and Herbert Messent 10months son.

On 27th Jan 1897 and aged 18 and 3 months Charles Messent born in Bulmer, Sudbury, Essex, a labourer, joins the 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment at Bury St Edmonds, Essex from the militia in which he is still serving. He is 5ft 4  6/10 inches tall, 130 lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He has a scar on the 2nd and 3rd fingers of his left hand with the loss of their nails.  He is passed fit for service on 28 Jan 1897 and becomes Private 4564 Charles Messent.

21 Jan 1899 he is granted his first good conduct pay and on 27 Jan 1903 he is granted his second good conduct pay award but on 1 April 1904 he declines his next good conduct award.

On the 10 Oct 1904 he is in Karachi, India [now Pakistan] and on 9 Nov 1904 he is transferred to the reserves.

Service Summary







27 Jan 1897

9 Apr 1897



10 Apr 1897

22 Sep 1898




23 Sep 1898

24 Nov 1904




25 Nov 1904

26 Jan 1909





He was awarded the Mounted Infantry Certificate on 24 Jul 1900.

His father is George Messent of Bulmer, Tye, Sudbury, Suffolk.

On 26 Jan 1909 his first engagement of his ‘Short Service’ ends and he is discharged having served 12 years, with 7 years and 307 days of service contributing to his pension.

[Full service record from WO 97 available at]

1911 England Census about Charles Messent

Name: Charles Messent Age in 1911:34 Estimated Birth Year:abt 1877 Relation to Head:Head Gender:Male Birth Place:Bulmer Tye Nr Sudbury, Suffolk, England Civil Parish:Great Henny Little Henny Middleton County/Island:Suffolk Country:England Street Address:Walnut Tree Cottage, Gt Henny, Sudbury, Sfk Marital status:Married Occupation:Horseman On The Farm Registration District:Sudbury Registration District Number:205 Sub-registration District:BulmerED, institution, or vessel:10 Household Schedule Number:42 Piece:10533

Household Members:

  • Charles Messent 34
  • Beatrice Ellen Messent 24
  • Charles Cyril Messent 3½
  • Reginald John Messent 6months

Source Citation: Class: RG14; Piece: 10533; Schedule Number: 42.

[Source: 1911 Census on Ancestry.ouk]

  WW1 Service Record of Private 10450 Charles Messent 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Charles Messent's medal index card

Charles Messent’s medal index card

Charles Messent's WW1 service record

Charles Messent’s WW1 service record

Charles Messent's WW1 service record

Charles Messent’s WW1 service record

Charles Messent's WW1 service record

Charles Messent’s WW1 service record

Charles Messent's WW1 service record

Charles Messent’s WW1 service record

Charles Messent's WW1 service record

Charles Messent’s WW1 service record











Married: 25 Dec 1906 Beatrice Ellen Haynes at the parish church of Farthinghoe, Northamptonshire. Witnesses were: John Haynes, Alfred Haynes, Frank Messent and Elizabeth Haynes and a child is born in 1907 in Kentish Town, London.

Charles Messent is: 36yrs and 10 months, born Bulmer, Suffolk, 5ft 5 inches tall, 117 lbs with grey eyes and brown hair and passed fit for duty on 29 Aug 1914.

Fragments of his service career show:

  • 29 Aug 1914 to 25 Jul 1915 331 days in the Expeditionary Force in France
  • 26 Jul 1915 to 13 Sep 1918 3yrs 40 days [somewhere – France?]
  • 14 Sep 1918 to 28 Sep 1918 15 days [somewhere and very faint]
  • 29? Sep 1918 to 4 Feb 1919 129 days [somewhere]
  • 5 Feb 1919 to 4 Mar 1919 28 days [somewhere]
  • 5 Mar 1919 to 31 Mar 1920 1yr 27 days [somewhere]

He is entitled to the 1914-15 Star from 26 Jul 1915 according to his medal index card, although if he was in France 29 Aug 1914 to 25 Jul 1915 I am not sure why he was not entitled to the 1914 Star.

[Full size images of his WW1 service record is available at immediately after William Cumberpatch’s]

Charles Messent’s death, aged 70, was registered in the March quarter of 1948 in the Kidderminster Registration District. I wonder what he thought of the second war. Rest in the Peace you helped to create.

Messent looks like an ideal name for a One-Name Study.

Why not join today!


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