CFHS code : HT535a
Parish : Holy Trinity
Inscription : In Ever Loving Memory of CHARLES PERCIVAL TRUSCOTT of Brixton FSMO d May 2 1909 aged 28
Monument : Kerb stones
Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey
Charles Percival Truscott (27 April 1881 – 2 May 1909)
Charles was born in Stockwell, London and baptised at St. John the Divine Church on 10 July 1881. He was the the second son of George and Susan (née Jones) and grew up at 99 Stockwell Road where his father was a watchmaker/jeweller and optician. Charles attended Stockwell school from the age of 3 and trained to be an optician, being admitted to the Company of Spectaclemakers in October 1903. In c.1905 he moved to Cambridge to work for Boots the chemist and lodged at 40 Glisson Road. He was an enthusiastic member of the Cambridge C.E.Y.M.S (Church of England Young Men’s Society). He took part in their play entitled ‘A Plot and Counterplot’, was on the committee of the C.E.Y.M.S. Camera club, and was a supporter of the club’s football team. He also served as Vice captain of the C.E.Y.M.S cycle club, before being elected Captain in April 1908. The cycle club held ‘runs’ every Thursday afternoon and Tuesday evening as well as a ‘ladies’ run’ once a month.
In his spare time Charles was also a Trooper with the Cambridge Squadron of the Loyal Suffok Hussars and was killed by a fall from a horse on Barton Road whilst out riding with comrades one Sunday morning. During his time with the squadron he had built up enough riding experience to be regarded as a ‘fairly capable horseman’ despite not having ridden before. Charles and three others rented horses from Mr Hammond at the Castel Hotel and rode out. They had trotted down Grange Road, and were cantering along Barton Road when Charles’ horse raced ahead and out of sight of the other three men. When they caught him up he was lying unconscious in the road. He was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and was found to have fractured his skull. Doctors performed an operation but he never regained consciousness and was declared dead at 2.30pm. His death was subject to an inquest where the Coronor said that ‘he had no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that death was the result of an accident, but whether deceased could ride was another matter. Nothing frightened the horse, and there was nothing to suggest that it was not a proper horse to be let out. He thought they must come to the conclusion that deceased was not a competent horseman’.
The funeral took place on 6 May 1909 at the Mill Road Cemetery Chapel. His parents, three siblings, and his old school master from Stockwell school all came up from London to attend, as did ‘a number of the deceased comrades in the Hussars…the staff of Messrs. Boots and a number of members of the C.E.Y.M.S.’
The day after the funeral 50 year old Emily Harding and her 30 year old niece who was also named Emily Harding were charged with stealing three carnations from a wreath on top of Charles’ grave. The cemetery custodian Thomas Stanbridge apprehended them and called the police. At court their solicitor asked for the case to be dropped, but Stanbridge insisted he did not want to withdraw the charge and the case was heard. The two ladies had been seen taking three carnations from the grave of ‘poor young Truscott’ and putting the flowers in their pocket. When apprehended they had handed the flowers over to Stanbridge and ‘both of the ladies seemed very much upset’. At court the younger Miss Harding feinted and had to be removed from the court room. Their solicitor explained that she had worked at Messrs. Boots for the previous seven Christmas periods and had got to know Charles Truscott at the store. She had gone to the grave and seen that some flowers had fallen from a wreath so had picked them up as ‘she intended taking them home to keep them in remembrance of the late Mr. Truscott’. Her aunt explained ‘we knew him as a friend. I thought I should like a flower’. At court it emerged that the women had explained this to Thomas Stanbridge ‘who in his officiousness locked them up in his house and sent for the policeman, and the defendants were marched to the police station’. Mr Haynes, the superintendant of the Sunday School where both women taught testified as to their good character. The case was dismissed by the bench, with the Mayor remarking that it ought not to have been brought before the court and admonished Stanbridge for his behaviour and said ‘he hoped nothing that he had said would give people the impression that they had a right to take the flowers from the graves, or from the side of the graves’.
by Claire Martinsen
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