Charles Henry Hauser

Author: Ros Clow
Date published: 01/05/2022

Hauser questions answered

In Spring 2010 I wrote about Charles Hauser in this newsletter.

I had discovered an entry in the records, kept at Shaw Cemetery, recording that the Home Office had allowed the exhumation of his remains in 1963. He was to be re-buried in the German Cemetery at Cannock Chase.

Some initial research showed that at the beginning of the war he was employed as a Head Waiter in a hotel in London. He was married to a much younger woman and had a young child, Constance. I was perplexed. I wrote:

“How did he come to Newbury during World War I? His death certificate provided the answer. He had died, aged 45, from pneumonia in ‘The Hospital, Prisoner of War Camp, Racecourse, Greenham’, on the 5th December 1914. We do not know when he came to England; he had anglicised his name, presumably from Hans Klaus, married and had a good job but because he was German he was transported to Greenham and interned.”

Since then, I have found out more. In 1914 there were lots of German waiters in England. At the outbreak of the Great War an anti-German frenzy was reported in the press and all over the country ‘alien enemies’ were rounded up, imprisoned and transported to the ‘concentration camp at Newbury Racecourse’.

The conditions at the racecourse were brought under question by the Hamburg Medical Association, complaints filed, and the British Medical Association mounted an enquiry. They were concerned about the nine doctors among the internees. An internee who was over 60 years old was released and wrote about the conditions.

“He said that 1,340 Germans were confined in a training stable, eight or ten men lying together on old straw in a horsebox. Each man received two thin blankets and nothing else. There was no furniture and no light, so that at dusk they must all ‘creep into their straw’. They had to cook their own food in the open air on a hearth consisting of a ditch and some bricks on which stood saucepans which had to be used alike for cooking tea and thin soup….” (British Medical Journal Dec 5th 1914)

A Times newspaper reporter investigated and reported that the charges were over-stated. The Prime Minister visited and made inquiries. The accusations were refuted but on December 12th the BMJ announced that the Newbury Concentration Camp was to be closed forthwith. This was too late for Charles Hauser who had died, aged 45, on 5th December.

He was buried on 8th December 1914 in the Old Cemetery and from the funeral report we discover that he was a Catholic. Father Green had attended him ‘up to the very last’ and conducted the funeral service. The funeral cortège consisted of a hearse, behind which came Father Green, eight prisoners of war who bore the coffin, and an armed guard of half-a-dozen National Reserves acting as an escort. (NWN, 10th December 1914)

Unsolicited documents arrived; I think from the Red Cross with more information. Hauser was born in Offenburg, i/Baden, Boldgasse 5. Offenburg is Southeast of Strasbourg. He was referred to a ‘Henry Charles’ in these documents. He was buried in plot 1521 in our cemetery. I wonder where that was!

In March Dave couldn’t resist visiting the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase. Their online diagram and map meant that we knew exactly where to find Hauser. There are four names on each gravestone and from his inscription we discovered that his name was Heinrich Hauser, not Hans as I had guessed back in 2010.

Ros Clow, April 2022.


We have been able to be in contact with his grandson's niece in Australia and she provided the following information:   Charles was born circa 15 Aug 1869 IN Hamburgh Germany to Wilhelm Hauser and Louisa Pauline Fromaine.

He shows up in 1871,1881,1901,1911 Census records.

On 19 Nov 1909 he married Flora Iris Eilbeck and they had 1 child Audrey Constance Hauser born 1910. Charles died at Newbury Racecourse concentration camp in 1914 and was intially buried at Newtown Road Cemetery , Newbury

Iris later met an Australian service man , married and inmmigrated to Australia with their daughter. Their grandson who  lives in Australia has not very much information about his grandfather, Charles except the knowledge of his death in internment.


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