Charley was the son of John Thomas (a Labourer and Gardener) and Sarah Jane (of Bridgegate). He had eight brothers and sisters: Lionel Dobson; Tom (see separate entry on database); Mary; Robert; Marggret Elizabeth (Lissy); Lillian; Greta and Albert. The children were all born in Barnard Castle.
The family had close links with the NER. Charley and his father worked for the railway at one time.
Enlisted on 20th November 1915.