top of page
Ernest Charleton HAC.png

Identified on this photograph's reverse side simply as "Charleton" I was able to identify this soldier with information found in two books - The Journal of the C.V.I in South Africa (1901) by Major-General W. H. Mackinnon and The H.A.C. in South Africa (1903) edited by Basil Williams and Erskin Childers.


The first lists all members of the City Imperial Volunteers who served in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War and an E. Charleton of the Honourable Artillery Company is mentioned. In the second volume, Gunner E. Charleton is listed in the Nominal Roll of the City Imperial Volunteers Battery. Here he is listed as "Late R.H.A.". A bit more research led to Charleton's service papers that related his brief tenure with the Royal Horse Artillery as well as other details of his life.

Ernest Charleton was born at Plymouth, Devonshire around 1876 the son of Peter Charleton, a photographer, and his wife Margaret. Ernest Charleton attested with the Royal Horse Artillery on 23 October 1895 at Newbridge. At the time of his enlistment, his trade was listed as that of a photographer. Charleton served at home for a total of 1 year 254 days when he purchased his release on 3 July 1897 for the sum of £18. While no reason is given for his decision to leave the service it could not have been a dislike of military life since he enlisted with the Honourable Artillery Company in London soon afterward.

With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, Charleton volunteered for overseas service and joined the City Imperial Volunteer's Artillery Battery. He was attached to the D Sub-Divison as was Trumpeter Henry Hollington Sawyer featured elsewhere in this section. Charleton seems to have served with the CIV Battery during that unit's entire deployment to South Africa which extended from February to October 1900. The Queen's South Africa medal roll of the City Imperial Volunteers shows No. 1389 Gunner E. Charleton being entitled to that medal with the following clasps: "Wittebergen", "Cape Colony" and "Transvaal".

Charleton must have left the service for the final time sometime after returning from South Africa. In The Historie Booke: A tale of two worlds and five centuries (1903) edited by Justin H. Smith, an included roster of all the then serving members of the Honourable Artillery Company makes no mention of Ernest Charleton so one assumes he had resigned from that volunteer unit sometime before that 1903 publication date.

Ernest Charleton returned to his pre-war vocation of photography with the family firm of Charleton & Son which seemed to have made military subjects something of a specialty. Charleton & Son kept a studio for some time at Curragh Camp, Ireland, and many of his images appeared in books and other publications from the early 1900s

Cabinet Photograph
Arthur Weston - Photographer
52 & 53 New Gate Street, London, E.C., England
c. 1900

bottom of page