Puckridge, Christopher Francis Hewitt (1894-1917)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the First World War, 1914-1918.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Christopher Francis Hewitt Puckridge (1894-1917), born 31 August 1894 at Bridestowe, Devon. Eldest son of the Rev. Oliver Puckridge (Vicar of Pinhoe) and Fanny Puckridge (nee Hewitt), Pinhoe Vicarage, Exeter, Devon.
Attended St Albans preparatory school, Lyme Regis.
Attended Sherborne School (Harper House) September 1908-July 1912; scholar; 6th form; Head of House.
Attended Clare College, Cambridge; matriculated in 1913; coxswain of the second Clare boat which made two 'bumps' in the May Races of 1914. Left Cambridge in September 1914 and enlisted in the Universities and Public Schools Brigade at Epsom.
WW1, Captain in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Served as Private in University and Public Schools' Corps, 17 September 1914 to 25 May 1915; Commissioned to 3rd Bn., D.C.L.I.; went to France on 19 September 1916, attached to 7th Bn.; promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to Captain on 19 September 1916. October 1917 he was recommended for the Military Cross. Killed in action at Ruyaulcourt on 28 March 1917.
London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval, 10.J.5 www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2946065/PUCKRIDGE,%20...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Harper House roll of honour.
Obituary, The Shirburnian, July 1917: 'CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER F.H. PUCKRIDGE, entered Mr Bell's House (d) in 1908 and became Head of the House under Mr Bensly in 1911. He was a member of the VIth, and was given his 2nd XI Colours during his last term. After leaving Sherborne he went up to Clare College, Cambridge. On the outbreak of war he joined one of the Public Schools' Battalions at Epsom and subsequently took a commission in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Immediately on his arrival at the front he attracted the attention of his Commanding Officer by the cool and capable manner in which he handled his men in action and was soon gazetted to a temporary captaincy, and given command of a company. He was recommended for the Military Cross in October. He fell in action on March 30th. The qualities which most endeared him to officers and men alike were his never-failing cheerfulness and constant consideration for those under his command.'
The Commanding Officer of the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry wrote this tribute: 'He came out with me and some six or seven other young officers when I took command in mid-September, and we all had the greatest regard for him as a good friend, a cheerful and interesting companion and a most excellent officer, beloved by all. The notice in the newspaper said that almost from the first he commanded his Company, and you may be interested to know why. We went on September 15th to 17th into a severe and most successful action at Les Boeufs, and almost immediately his senior officers were killed or wounded, and he was left in charge of his Company. I noticed the extreme ability with which he handled his men, and determined from that day to give him the charge of his Company and his promotion as early as possible. He was in several other engagements still in command, and as soon as his thirty days' probationary command were over I sent in his name for a Captain's rank, and I am glad to say it was approved. During the three months I commanded the Battalion, before my health gave way, I found his Company, whether in action or at rest, was one of the best worked in the Battalion. The men and officers all liked and trusted him, and his loss will be very much felt in the Regiment, I know; and myself I grieve over the loss of a very good friend.'
One of Captain Puckridge's men wrote: 'Our most beloved Captain was highly respected and loved by all, especially by his own Company. He was looked upon as a good and faithful leader. Neither I nor any of my comrades were afraid to go to any part of the line under his command and leadership. He was always so cool. He is buried in a little French cemetery at Ytres, and we have raised a mound and decorated the grave with flowers and put up an oak cross.'