My father was left wrecked by WW1

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A Huthwaite veteran whose father’s life was shattered by the First World War has criticised Remembrance Day events for overlooking those who survived the conflict.

Kenneth Charlesworth’s father, James, was just 20 years old when he had a leg shot off at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Kenneth Charlesworth speaks to the Chad about the lack of recognition shown to soldiers returning from the World Wars, Kenneth is pictured with photos of his father, himself and his brother

Kenneth Charlesworth speaks to the Chad about the lack of recognition shown to soldiers returning from the World Wars, Kenneth is pictured with photos of his father, himself and his brother

The Newstead-born man was left with a stump and spent eight months in hospital before returning to England with severe shell-shock.

Eighty-four year-old Kenneth said: “Everybody talks about the ones who died but nobody mentions the ones who were maimed.

“On Sunday’s parade it was all about the ones who died there.

“I know it was a terrible thing that they did not come back but men like my father suffered terribly. He died at the age of 43 of a massive heart attack - a young man really.”

James Charlesworth married Kenneth’s mother in 1922 and the couple had five sons together.

He returned to work at Kirkby Colliery in the lamp cabin and dynamite store but was dogged by ill health, which forced him to take regular time off.

Said Kenneth: “He was a wreck of a man. The symptoms of shell-shock and being gassed in the trenches changed him.

“My mother always said he was never the same again. He never talked much about it but he did tell me about being gassed and shelled.

“They had it day and night and it left most of them nervous wrecks.”

Father-of-four Kenneth and three of his brothers all went on to serve in the forces, with Kenneth seeing action in Palestine in 1948.

He then worked at Bentinck Colliery before becoming a civil engineer, then working for Ashfield District Council until retirement.

He said: “The First World War was truly terrible and too many people lost their lives but more should be said about the poor souls who survived it.”