Private, D/9129, Charles Arthur Bates (k/a Arthur) Swingler (21) – Died

4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish), 23rd October 1916 

Charles Arthur Bates Swingler – © Linda Lagoe

Synopsis of Life and Military Service

Charles Swingler was born in the first quarter of 1895 at Moseley, Birmingham to William and Blanche Swingler, he had three step-sisters, One step-brother, two sisters and a brother.

In 1911 Census he is shown as being employed as a Sign Writer. In 1912 his step-sister Arthuretta and sister Blanche moved to Canada to find work. In the early part of the Great War, Charles enlisted into the 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish) at Birmingham and was given the service number D/9129 during this time he was resident with his family at 65 Kyrwicks Lane, Birmingham. At some point he was stationed at Assay Barracks, Tidworth, Wiltshire.

This is believed to be Charles’s Squad as noted on his postcard to his sister. (It is unknown if he is in this photo).- © Linda Lagoe
Rear of Postcard – © Linda Lagoe

He left with his regiment for France / Flanders arriving there on 25th May 1915. His Military Record does not survive so it is difficult to know where Charles served apart from reading through the unit diary, however, the strain must have been great as when his unit was in reserve at Berteaucourt-les-Dames, he took his own life with a revolver and his body was found on the 23rd October 1916, no one will know the reason for him doing so, however, examining his units diary, it would appear that they were due to participate in an attack on the 25th October, this may have played a part in his decision.

He was buried at Berteaucourt-Les-Dames Churchyard, Somme, France.

His mother Blanche was sole Legate to his pension and belongings. In 1920, his mother Blanche and his sister Marguerite moved to Canada, her address was given as Brantford, Ontario. His brother John was meant to join them when he left the army but decided to stay in England.

Diary for the 4th Dragoon Guards

22nd October 1916

Squadrons exercised early and carried out inspections. Squadron Leaders selected reinforcement horses during the morning.

23rd October 1916

The Commanding Officer attended conferences at Brigade and Division at Headquarters during the morning. Lieutenant-Colonel M.R. Head, 5th Dragoon Guards, took over temporary command of the regiment for the coming operations. Major Dorman interviewed Squadron Leaders at Regimental Headquarters at 2 p.m. and explained the role assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, in the attack which is to take place on the 25th. Major General R.L. Mellons visited the regiment during the morning. At 7.30 p.m. Orders were received that the Division will not move tomorrow, operations having been put back for 24 hours owing to misty weather. Rain fell during the night.


Charles Swingler was born at Birmingham, in the first quarter of 1895.

His family is shown as follows :-

  • Father – William Henry Swingler, born c.1848 at East Langdon, Leicestershire. (Painter and Decorator)
  • Mother – Blanche Emily Walker or Bates or Swingler, born c.1866 at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. (Coffee Refreshment House)
  • Step-Brother – William Swingler, born c.1872
  • Step-Sister – Nellie Swingler, born c.1886
  • Step-Sister – Maud Bates, born c.1887
  • Step-Sister – Arthuretta Blanche Bates, born c.1891 at Birmingham.(Sewing Machinist)
  • Sister – Blanche Emily Swingler, born c.1893 at Birmingham. (Warehouse Girl)
  • Sister – Marguerite B. Swingler, born c.1900 at Doncaster, Yorkshire.
  • Brother – John Walter Bates Swingler, born c.1901 at Doncaster, Yorkshire.

Note – Charles’s mother Blache was previously married to Arthur John Bates in 1887, he died aged 25 in 1890. His father was also previously married and had two children by this relationship, William and Nellie.


From information found in the 1901 and 1911 Census and Pension card, the following addresses have been ascertained.

  • 1901 – Recorded as residing at the family home at 46 Hexthorpe Road, Doncaster
  • 1911 – Recorded as residing with his family at 65 Kyrwicks Lane, Sparkbrook, Birmingham. This was still the recorded address for his family at the time of his death as it appears on the Army Pension Card.
  • On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission page, the parents address is shown as 130 Market Street, Brantford, Ontario, Canada. His father died circa October 1917 and is buried in Birmingham. His mother Blanche went to reside in Canada in 1920.


Charles Arthur Bates Swingler was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.


There is no record of Charles Swingler being remembered on a war memorial other than his grave in France.

Links to Additional Information


  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • Medal Index Card.
  • Medal Roll – Corps of Dragoons – Victory and British War Medal.
  • Medal Roll – Corps of Dragoons – 1914-15 Star.
  • Soldiers Died in the Great War.
  • Register of Soldiers Effects.
  • The National Archive – 4th Dragoon Guards War Diary.
  • Irelands Memorial Records 1914-18.
  • England and Wales Births Index 1837-1915.
  • Pension Card.
  • 1911 Census.
  • 1901 Census.



  • Vincent Stuart
  • Linda Lagoe

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