Charles Alfred Jarvis, VC

Charles Alfred Jarvis, VC

Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis, VC, 57th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was born at Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, on 29 March 1881. He was the elder son of Charles Alfred Jarvis, a Coastguard, and Mary Jane Jarvis, of Admiralty Buildings, Saltoun Place, Fraserburgh, then Rattray Coastguard Station, and subsequently Carnoustie.

His siblings were Evelina, Mary, James and Elizabeth.

His father was awarded the Royal Humane Society medal for saving two boys from drowning at Berwick.

Charles completed his education at Carnoustie School.

Aged sixteen, he was confirmed at Carnoustie’s Holyrood Church and, on leaving school, he was taken on as an Apprentice Plumber, but was unable to complete the apprenticeship. His mother and sister died within a month of each other in 1898, and two years later Charles senior was also dead.

He was employed as a Metal Worker. In 1899 Charles enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Chatham and was sent to Singapore where his unit was involved in the construction of military works. He was transferred to the Reserve in 1907 and worked as a Telegraphist in London. On the outbreak of war, Charles was called up and sent to France with the Royal Engineers, arriving at Mons on 22 August 1914. The following day he was one of the men sent to destroy eight of the bridges over the Mons-Conde Canal. Although coming heavy fire from German fire, Jarvis managed to blow up the bridge at Jemappes. This was the deed for which he was awarded the first VC of the war.

The citation read, "Lance-Corporal Jarvis worked for 1½ hours under heavy fire, in full view of the enemy and finally succeeded in firing charges for the demolition of a bridge. He was wounded in the process."

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Charles Jarvis, VC
Charles Jarvis, VC.