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Vicar’s Son

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Christopher Berkeley was born on the 3rd of June 1896 in Abbots Bromley to the Reverend Stuart Berkeley and Edith Mary. On the 1901 census, the family are recorded as living in the ‘Market Square’ which is probably the address for the vicarage. There are no records saying Christopher attended Richard Clarke School, but we do have records to indicate that he attended Yarlet Hall Preparatory School near Stafford. The Berkeley family were much loved and respected in the village. Sadly Rev. Stuart Berkeley died unexpectedly in 1909 age 53 this meant Edith and the family needed to vacate the vicarage. On the 1911 census, the family are living in Hendon Middlesex. In 1915 Christopher applied for a commission and was immediately promoted to Second Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards at Windsor. By 1916 he was thrown right into trench warfare fighting and on the 13th December shrapnel from an exploding enemy shell caused him intensive injuries resulting in him being evacuated home to England. Spending the majority of 1917 recovering from wounds, Christopher was declared fit for service and returned to France in December 1917 only to be returned home due to suffering from a serious abscess that required an operation. While at home convalescing in early 1918 Christopher decided to serve as a pilot, applying for a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. By the time of the Armistice on 11th November 1918, Christopher had not taken part in any combat flying, becoming a Pilot instructor at Northolt Aerodrome. Sadly on the 7th February 1919, Christopher took a pupil up for instruction and collided with another aeroplane above him, this resulted in the tailplane being torn off causing the plane to spin and crash to the ground. Christopher died on the way to the hospital – he was 22 years old. Christopher is laid to rest in St Mary’s Churchyard, Hendon, Middlesex. RIP Christopher Berkeley

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