The son of Charles Thomas and Anne Elizabeth (Whetstone) Worthington, Charles Edward Worthington was educated at Wyggeston School, Leicester, and Heidelberg, Germany. He was commissioned in the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. With 87 Squadron in 1918, he scored five victories flying the Sopwith Dolphin. Worthington was transferred to the unemployed list on 9 April 1919.
Worthington was Lord Mayor of Leicester from 1940 to 1940. From 1941 to 1945, he was an honorary Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and commanded the Leicester (Secondary) Schools Squadron of the Air Training Corps. He became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire at the King's Birthday Honours, June 1943.