The AIF Project

Charles POPE

Place of birthMile End, London, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationAssurance agent
Address117 Glendower Street, Perth, Western Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation32
Height5' 11"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs E M Pope, Fitzgerald Street, North Perth, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected on account of heart)
Enlistment date31 August 1915
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit name11th Battalion, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/28/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A31 Ajana on 15 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll11th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 15 April 1917
Age at death from cemetery records34
Place of burialMoeuvres Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot V, Row D, Grave No. 22), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a very important picquet post in the sectorr held by his battalion, his orders being to hold this post at all costs. After the picquet post had been heavily attacked, the enemy, in greatly superior numbers, surrounded the post. Lieutenant Pope, finding that he was running short of ammunition, sent back for further supplies. But the situation culminated before it could arrive, and in the hope of saving the postion, this very gallant officer was seen to charge with his picquet into a superior force, by which it was overpowered. By his sacrifice Lieutenant Pope not only inflicted heavy loss on the enemy, but obeyed his order to hold the position to the last. His body, together with those of most of his men, was found in close proximity to eight enemy dead - a sure proof of the gallant resistance which had been made.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169
Date: 4 October 1917

Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 15 July 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 1 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 7 december 1916; joined 11th Bn in the field, 10 December 1916.

Promoted Lieutenant, 26 December 1916.

Killed in action, 15 April 1917.

Posthumously awarded Victoria Cross.

Note, Red Cross File No 2180201E, 'Dead - Personal effects forwarded. Cert. by German Nachlass List dated 20.8.17'.

Statement, 1867 Signaller G.B. ROBERTSON, 11th Bn, 5 November 1917: 'Killed in an attack by Fritz to our lines - he was called on to surrender but would not do so. He was killed by a charge of bayonets. I do not know where he was buried. He got a posthumous V.C.'

Second statement, 6027 Pte S. DEWAR, B Company, 11th Bn (patient, Bath War hospital, England), 20 November 1917: 'I saw Lt. Pope's body at a place in front of Monchy on April 16th or 17th lying out in a shell hole. His post had been attacked and he was killed. The whole of the post was wiped out. Lt. Pope was awarded the V.C.'

Third statement, 258 Pte J.J. RYAN, Signal Section, 11th Bn, 15 October 1917: Lt. Pope was in charge of an advance post with 8 men and having expended practically all their ammunition, one man of the party was sent back for further supplies. The post was surrounded by Germans and Lt. Pope gave the order to fix bayonets and charge. Every one of the party was killed and we were told that the bodies were found with 80 dead German[s] lying in front of them. I believe it was for this action that Lt. Pope was awarded the V.C. after death.'

Medals: Victoria Cross, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, POPE Charles
Red Cross File No 2180201E

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.