CHARLES PARAVISO LINDNER
This soldier’s biography highlights some of the typical characteristics of young soldiers from Hoylake who died during the Great War – a wealthy middle class background, cosmopolitan roots with a hint of a Spanish or Latin American connection and even direct German ancestry within two generations. As a young gentleman beginning his career in Liverpool commerce, he was also a typical member of the Liverpool Pals.
Lindner is a German surname, but we do not yet know how the Paraviso element, which sounds distinctly Spanish, was acquired. Charles was born into a wealthy middle class family on 10th September 1889 at Duluth, Minnesota, USA, which borders onto Lake Superior. He had a brother Percival Charles (1887-1952) and his parents, Charles Paraviso Senior (1853-1890) and Alice Louisa Lindner (neé Clark 1867-1941). They had married a few years earlier in 1886 at a civil marriage ceremony at Chester. Charles’ first German ancestor was his paternal grandfather Maximilian Lindner (1812-1898), a wealthy merchant born in Bavaria who became a naturalised British Subject. Maximilian married Charlotte Ashmore Peters (1821-1909) on 8th November 1842 at St Bartholomew, Edgbaston. Charlotte was born in Perth, Scotland. They had a large family , all born in Edgbaston, where Charles Paraviso senior was born. Probate of Maximilian’s will reveals that he left a staggering £242,361 5s 7d – the equivalent of £13,829,134.35 in 2005.
“Dunkirk Evening Observer” of New York 24th July 1890, recoring the death of Charles’s father in a boating accident.
In a yacht race at a sailing regatta on Lake Superior on 23rd July 1890, Charles (senior) was racing his yacht the Roamer, when a sudden squall arose and capsized the boat. It was heavily weighted and sank immediately and all crew were washed overboard. Some of the crew were picked up, but sadly JW Clark and Charles both drowned. It is unknown if JW Clark was related to the family in any way, perhaps had the 1890 US Census survived it might have revealed some clues.
Charles (junior) was only ten months old when his father died and Alice must have moved the boys back to the UK in order to live with her mother whilst she finished things up in the US, as she did not arrive back at Liverpool until 23rd October 1891 on the Germanic. The 1891 Census shows that Charles, aged 1, and his brother Percival, aged 4, were living at the Harbour Hotel, Rhyl with their widowed grandmother Ceciley Ann Clark (neé Brunton 1836-1891), a licensed victualler. This was just one month before her death. Also, living there was Ceciley’s married daughter, Emma Summers (32), her son Robert Brunton Clark (27); another grandson Otto Heaps Clark (5) and one domestic servant, Elizabeth Jones (28) born in Holywell, Flintshire. Ceciley had married Edward Collingwood Clark (1818-1879) at Holywell in 1856. Edward was born in Whittingham, Northumberland and the 1861 Census reveals that he was a victualler and steam packet agent, and so Ceciley must have taken over the business after his death.
After her mother’s death, Alice moved to Cheshire where Charles attended Arnold House School in Chester. In 1901 the family were living at Rose Mount, Whitby where Alice was shown as a 31 year old widow, born in Rhyl, Flintshire, living on her own means. Percival was aged 13, and Charles 11. John Henderson aged 28, born in Birkenhead was visiting and the family had one servant, Sarah A Millet, aged 22, born in Buckley, Flintshire.
Charles’ mother, Alice Louisa Lindner (Clark), after 16 years of widowhood, married Charles Harrel Flett (1869-1952) in 1906 at St Pancras, London. Charles Flett was a timber broker who was born in Birkenhead. After their marriage they settled at “The Poplars”, Little Sutton.
In April 1910, Charles completed a five year apprenticeship where he qualified as a draughtsman with Liverpool based architect, WB Harding, at 16 Cook Street. The 1911 census shows Charles boarding at 57 Cable Road, Hoylake with Ellen Augusta Miller, a fifty-five year-old widow with a nine-roomed house. His cousin, Otto Clark, who was now a weighing instrument maker, was visiting.
Charles and his brother Percival travelled to the US, perhaps to visit the place where they were born. They embarked the Celtic departing Liverpool on 20th March and arriving at New York on 30th March 1913. It is not known how long they stayed there or when then returned to England. However, on 31st August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of war, they both enlisted together at Liverpool into the 19th Bn King’s (Liverpool Regiment), which was the third Pals’ Battalion or Third City Battalion.
Charles was eventually posted as a Machine Gunner. His battalion, along with the 16th and 17th, was formed by Lord Derby on 29th August 1914 at the old watch factory at Prescot.
His attestation papers reveal that Charles was aged 24 years, 355 days old, had a fresh complexion, with brown hair and brown eyes, and that he had a scar on the left side of his neck. Charles was 5′ 8″ tall; he had a 35″ chest with a 2″ expansion and he weighed 126 lbs. His service records show that his next of kin was his mother Mrs AL Flett, The Poplars, Little Sutton.
On 30th April 1915, the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th KLR came under the orders of the 89th Brigade, 30th Division. The Division was inspected by Lord Derby on 4th November 1915 and two days later they embarked at Folkestone, Kent for France, arriving at Le Havre and Boluoune on 7th November 1915. The Liverpool Pals attacked German positions at the southern end of the Somme front on 1st July 1916 and were remarkably successful, experiencing relatively few casualties and achieving most of their objectives. However, poor Charles fell in the attack.
Two different newspapers give reports as to how Charles was killed. The Deeside Advertiser reports that Charles was shot through the heart, whereas the Liverpool Echo reports that he was instantly killed by the explosion of a shrapnel shell. His service records say that he “died from wounds received in action”.
Charles’ Service Papers include a copy of letter, dated 31st May 1920, from his mother to the War Department acknowledging receipt of her son’s commemorative scroll, but enquiring about the whereabouts of his commemorative plaque. She finished with the words, “I shall be pleased to receive the same at your earliest convenience.” The army wrote back explaining that the plaque would be sent to her by the manufacturers.
Charles is commemorated on more memorials than most of his contemporaries due to his associations with different places.
Probate of Charles’ estate was handled by Edward Lloyd, Solicitor, Liverpool. It states that his address was 30 Marine Parade, Hoylake.
This was another young liffe, full of colour and promise which was abruptly extinguished by the Great War. The authors hope that we can think of him as an individual with a story rather than as just another name etched into several memorials in Wirral and Chester.
Birth: 10th September 1889, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Death: 1st July 1916 died of wounds received in action age 26
Address: Harbour Hotel, Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales (91); Rose Mount, Whitby, Cheshire (01); 57 Cable Road, Hoylake (11); 30 Marine Parade, Hoylake (16)
Occupation: Draughtsman, Surveyor
Unit: 19th Bn, Kings (Liverpool Regiment)
Number and Rank: Private 17415
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H, Hooton, Chester Cathedral, Peronne Road Cemetery Maricourt I A 6
Sources: CWGC, DA, LE, BR, MC, SR, Census: 91, 01, 11