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Lieutenant 176117 Charles Emerson Spooner

South Wales Borderers.

Died 28th June, 1944, aged 30.

Charles was the second son of Reginald and Sarah Spooner and was born at St. Mellons on the 8th of September, 1913. Reginald was a farrier in a Cavalry regiment and served in the Boer and First World Wars. He moved to 'The Arches' in 1920 as part of a resettlement plan for ex-servicemen. He worked as a stonemason on further Land Settlement dwellings and ran the smallholding with the help of his wife and family - six boys and a girl.

Educated at Larkfield School, Chepstow, Charles went on to work at Red and White Services as an accountant. He had a lively and outgoing personality and thrived on the social activities of this area. In 1936 he was transferred to the London office and met Fay, the daughter of Frank Foster, the famous New Zealand tenor. They married in 1937 and set up home in Brixton. When war became imminent in late 1939 he suggested that Fay and their baby daughter came down to Caerwent. He was transferred to Newport but in 1940 he was called up.

He became a Lieutenant in the South Wales Borderers and served as Weapons Training Officer in Brecon. He took part in the Normandy landings. At the final battle of Falaise Gap his regiment confronted a whole German brigade and he was among the many casualties. He had moved on ahead of his men and when he turned to beckon them forward, he was shot in the back by a sniper.

Fay now lives in Cwmbran while their daughter, Dawn, husband and younger son live in Crawley. Dawn’s elder son is in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and took part in the Gulf War. Charles’ brother Joe lives in the middle of Caerwent and many relatives still live locally. Were Charles alive today he would be 84.

He will always be remembered by this passage from his Captain’s letter of condolence to Fay:

"He died as he lived - Smiling and thinking of others"

(This inscription appears on his tombstone in Caen, France.)

Fay Williams( formerly Spooner) Nov 1997