Sir Charles Parker Deedes was born in Leicestershire in 1879. He was commissioned into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (K.O.Y.L.I.) in 1899, marking the beginning of an extensive military career. Charles served in the Second Boer War between 1901 and 1902. During the First World War he used his past military experience and served on the General Staff. Charles was also honoured by the military of other countries. In recognition of his contribution to the First World War, he received the Legion d’Honneur and Croix de Guerre from France, the Distinguished Service Medal from the USA, and the Order of the Crown from Belgium.
Charles kept extensive diaries throughout his life including his experiences of the First World War. He kept motivational quotes in the front of his diaries from politicians, poets and writers of the day. In the front of his 1917 diary, he wrote down a quote from President Woodrow Wilson’s speech calling for America’s entrance into the war:
‘The world must be made safe for democracy’ – President Wilson
Charles also made scrapbooks while he was serving during the First World War. One features soldiers of different nationalities.
In 1937, Charles retired from the military and died on 9th March 1969, aged 89. His service is commemorated on a memorial plaque in York Minister. It reads, ‘In the Glory of God and in loving memory of General Sir Charles Deedes, KCB, CMG, DSO. Colonel, the K.O.Y.L.I. 1927 – 1947.’