b. 21/09/1890 Finsbury Park, London. d. 28/03/1965 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Charles William Train (1890-1965) was born on the 21st September 1890, at 58, Chatterton Road, Finsbury Park, London and was educated at Gillespie Road London County Council School. He was a regular attendee of St. Thomas’s Church, and played in the church football team in a local boy’s football league. His father was a native of Midlothian, Scotland, and a former member of the Old Volunteers militia, which was a forerunner of the Territorial Army, where he was considered to be a crack shot with a rifle. Upon completing his education Train found employment with a firm of solicitors, Messrs. Walker, Martineau & Co., of Grays Inn, London, and when he reached 18 years of age he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlist in the Territorials and joined “A” Company, 1st/14th Battalion, London Regiment (London Scottish).
Between 1909 and 1913, Train attended the annual summer camps at Salisbury, Dover, Erith Hill and Abergavenny, and was still a member of the unit when war was declared in August 1914. The battalion were sent to France just over a month later, landing at Le Havre on the 16th September, and taking part in the fighting at Messines towards the end of October. On the 2nd November, Train was promoted to Lance Corporal, but early in the following year he contracted diphtheria and was invalided home for treatment. He left the unit on the 24th March and was to remain in the UK for the next four months.
He was posted to the 3rd Battalion and returned to France on the 4th July but he was wounded at the start of September and evacuated back to the UK again on the 9th September. No source material could be located regarding the nature of his wounds and he remained in the UK for some time but his medical records show that he was treated for a hernia during this period. Upon being declared fit he was sent to Hove, Sussex, where he drilled recruits until he was sent, in mid-January, as part of a draft to the 2nd/14th Battalion, who were serving on the Salonika front. The battalion remained in Salonika before being posted to Egypt on the 12th August 1917, and the following month Train was promoted to Corporal.
Aged just 27 years old, and a now a Corporal in the battalion, and part of the 179th Brigade, 60th (2/2nd London) Division, Train performed the following deed for which he was awarded the VC. On 8th December 1917 at Ein Kerem, near Jerusalem, in Ottoman controlled Palestine, when his company was unexpectedly engaged at close range by a party of the enemy with two machine-guns and brought to a standstill, Corporal Train on his own initiative rushed forward and engaged the enemy with rifle grenades and succeeded in putting some of the team out of action by a direct hit. He shot and wounded an officer and killed or wounded the remainder of the team. After this he went to the assistance of a comrade who was bombing the enemy from the front and killed one of them who was carrying the second machine-gun out of action.
On the 1st May 1918, Train was wounded again but many British units serving with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the Palestine campaign were sent to the Western Front, and on the 23rd June he rejoined his unit in France, with the rank of Sergeant after being promoted on the 30th March 1918. The 2/14th Battalion, joined the 90th Brigade, 30th Division in the July and it was while serving in France that he was presented with the VC by King George V at 2nd Army Headquarters, Blendecques on 6 August 1918.
After demobilisation in February 1919, Train returned to England and attended the VC Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in June 1920, and at some point during the early 1920’s he decided that his fortunes lay in Canada and he moved to Vancouver, where he found work with the British Columbia Shipping Federation in 1926. He returned to England in 1929, to attend the House of Lords VC Dinner in November, and his next visit to his homeland was as part of the Canadian contingent at the VC Centenary celebrations in 1956.
His final visit to England came in October 1964, and upon returning to Canada he fell ill and was admitted to hospital in Vancouver where he passed away on the 28th March 1965, aged 74. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the London Scottish Regimental Museum, Horseferry Road, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LONDON SCOTTISH REGIMENT, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL PARK, BURNABY, CANADA.
NORMANDY SECTION, LOT 208, GRAVE 3
Bill Mullen – Image of the Train VC Grave in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Burnaby.
Kevin Brazier – Images of the Cemetery Map and of the Train VC Medal Group at the London Scottish Regiment Museum, London.