Charles Streather of Nuneaton: Part One

Charles Streather helmet, worn during his time as a soldier during WW1
Image courtesy of Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre

RE:   There are quite a number of artefacts on the wall… there are not many of these left.  That’s a very early erm, steel helmet from the First World War…

Interviewer:  …Right…

RE:  …Mark one Brodie pattern raw edge … Charlie wore that through the time in the trenches. There’s a little dent on the front which, erm, he received his only injury in the war, where it was kicked in the head by supply mules on his own side.  Spent a week in hospital but that was the only thing, but this, this stick…

Int: Sod’s Law you survive everyone else shooting at you, isn’t it?

RE:  When Beryl [Kerby – daughter], er, died, her sister came down and she hadn’t thrown anything away and her sister was going through it, she says: ‘You can ‘ave the helmet’, [inaudible].  I had a vague recollection that I had seen a photograph with it and I took it and then sort of found the photo out and there it is there…

Int:  …Oh, gotcha, yeah!

RE: This dates back then, which puts it back to 1918 at the very earliest, so it’s over 100 years old, so, er…

Int: And you said she was a kind of…  he was a big inspiration to her.

RE:  It was. She was a real, sort of er, daddy’s girl. She idolised her dad.  His family were builders, and he had got this sort of, erm, natural sort of flair for… but he had a flair for all sorts of things.  He was obviously quite academic, because erm, he went to erm, the Grammar School in town, and went into teaching and was a trainee teacher when the First World War broke out.  He went back to that.  But he could turn his hand to anything.  He was er, a real sportsman,

Int:  Yeah, I was seeing him playing cricket for 50 years is not bad, is it?

RE:  There was a game he played, erm a cricket… there was a famous English player called Jessop

Int: Right…

RE:   Who was er, played against him in one of the army games and he actually caught Jessop out.  Beryl said he was prouder of that than anything else he’d done [laughs]

Part two can be found here.

This article was published as part of the Warwickshire in 100 Objects project, part of Warwickshire Bytes.

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